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THE WORKS 



OF 



IVAN TURGENIEFF 



TRANSLATED FROM THS RUSSIAN BY 

ISABEL F. HAPGOOD 



SPRING FRESHETS 

AND OTHER STORIES 



SMOKE 










BOSTON 



THE JEFFERSON PRESS 



NEW YORK 



V.3 



Copyright, 1903, by 
Charles Soribner's Sonb 






CONTENTS 

SPRING FRESHETS 1 

KNOCK . . . KNOCK . . . KNOCK 839 

THE WATCH S91 









X 



SPRING FRESHETS 

(1871) 



SPRING FRESHETS 

Hie merry yews. 
The happy days,— 
Like freshets in spring 
lliey have dashed past I 

Fnm am ameimU BaUad, 

ABOUT two o*clock in the morning, he re- 
JTV turned to his study. He dismissed the ser* 
vanty struck a match,— and, flinging himself into 
an arm-chair near the fireplace, he covered his 
face with both hands. 

Never before had he felt such fatigue— both 
i^sical_and spiritual. He had spent the entire 
evening with agreeable ladies, with cultured men: 
some of the ladies were handsome, nearly all the 
men were distinguished for wit and talents— he 
himself had conversed with great success, and 
even brilliantly . . . and, nevertheless, never be- 
fore had that tcedium vitee of which the Ro- 
mans talked, that '' disgust with life,'^ taken pos- 
ses sjpn of him wi mTgggistifale~feiw^ SS3 

s tifled J am^ Had he been a little younger he 
would have wept with melancholy, boredom, irri- 
tation: a caustic and burning bitterness, like 
the bitterness of wormwood, filled his soul to 
overflowing. Something importunately-loath- 
some, repulsively-oppressive, invested him on all 

8 



^ 



SPRING FRESHETS 

sides, like a gloomy, autumnal night;— and he 
did not know how to rid himself of that gloom, 
of that bitterness. It was useless to rely upon 
sleep to do it: he knew well that he could not 
sleep. 

He set to meditating • . • slowly, languidly, 
and spitefully. 

He meditated upon the vanity, the uselessness, 
the stale falsity of everything human. All ages 
of man gradually passed in review before his 
mental vision— (he himself had passed his fifty- 
second birthday not long before) —and not one 
of them found any mercy at his hands. Every- 
where there was the s ame eternal pourin g of the 
egi pty into th e^ypid^ the same beating of _the 
smpty JUT, the same half -conscientious, half -con- 
sdous self-deception,— anything with which to 
soothe the child, so that it might not cry,— and 
then, all of a sudden old age descends unexpect- 
edly, like snow on the head,— and along with it, 
that constantly-augmenting, all-devouring, and 
gnawing fear of death .... and, flop into the 
abyss I And it is a good thing if life does wind 
up in that way 1— Otherwise, probably, before the 
end, feebleness, suffering will come like rust on 
grain. . • . The sea of life did not appear to him, 
as the poets describe it, covered with stormy 
waves; no:— he depicted to himself that sea as 
imperturbably-smooth, motionless and transpar- 
ent to even its very dark bottom; he himself is 
sitting in a small, cranky boat,— and down yon- 



SPRING FRESHETS 

der, cm that dark, slimy bottom, horrible mon- 
sters, in the likeness of huge fishes, are dimly visi- 
ble: all the ills of life, sicknesses, woes, mad- 
nesses, poverty, blindness. . • • He gazes: and 
lo, one of the monsters detaches itself from the 
gloom, rises higher and higher, grows more and 
more distinct, more repulsively-distinct. . • • 
Another minute— and the boat which is resting 
upon it will be overturned 1 But behold, it seems 
to grow dim once more, it retreats, sinks to the 
bottom— and there it lies, barely moving its gills. 
• . . But the fatal day will come when it wiU 
capsize the boat. 

He shook his head, jumped up from his chair, 
strode up and down the room a couple of times, 
seated himself at the writing-table, and pulling 
out one drawer after another, he began to rum- 
mage among his old papers, among ancient let- 
ters, chiefly from women. He himself did not 
know why he was doing this; he was not search- 
ing for anything— he was simply desirous of rid- 
ding himself, by some external activity, of the 
thoughts which were oppressing him. Unfold- 
ing, at haphazard, several letters (in one of them 
he found some withered flowers, bound with a 
faded ribbon), he merely shrugged his shoul- 
ders, and casting a glance at the fireplace, flung 
them aside, probably making ready to burn all 
this useless rubbish. Hastily thrusting his hands, 
now into ode, now into another drawer, he sud- 
denly opened his eyes to their fullest extent, and 

5 



SPRING FRESHETS 

slowly drawing forth a small octagonal casket of 
ancient design, he slowly raised its lid. In the 
casket, beneath a double layer of cotton-wool, yel- 
lowed with age, was a tiny garnet cross. 

For several moments he surveyed this little 
cross with bewilderment— and all at once he ut- 
tered a cry. ... It was neither precisely pity 
nor yet joy which his features expressed. A 
man's face presents that sort of an expression 
when he chances suddenly to encounter another 
man, whom he has long lost from sight, whom he 
has once tenderly loved, and who now unex- 
pectedly starts up before his vision, still the same 
—yet all altered by the years. 

He rose to his feet, and returning to the fire- 
place, seated himself once more in his arm-chair— 
and once more held his face in his hands. • . . 
"Why to-day? To-day in particular?" he 
thought to himself —and he recalled many things 
which had taken place long ago. 

This is what he called to mind .... 

But first we must tell his name, patronymic 
and surname. He was called Sdnin, Dmitry 
Pdvlovitch. 

This is what he called to mind • . • • 



It was Ihe year 1840. Sdnin was in his twenty* 
third year, and was in Frankfurt, on his home- 
ward road from Italy to Russia. He was a man 

6 



SPRING FRESHETS 

of small but independent fortune, almost totally 
devoid of family. He possessed a few thousand 
rubles, which had come to him on the death of a 
distant relative— and he decided to spend them 
abroad, before entering government service, be- 
fore definitively donning that official harness 
without which an existence free from anxiety was 
inconceivable for him. Sanin carried out his in- 
tention to the letter, and managed matters so art- 
fully that on the day of his arrival in Frankfurt 
he had just money left to take him to Petersburg. 
In 1840 there was only the smallest amount of 
railways in existence; tourists travelled in stage- 
coaches. S^nin engaged a place in the Bei- 
wagen; but the diligence did not start until 
eleven o'clock at night. He had a great deal of 
time on his hands. Fortunately, the weather was 
very fine— and S^nin, after dining in the then 
renowned hostelry " The White Swan," set out to 
roam about the town. He dropped in to have a 
look at Dannecker's "Ariadne," which did not 
please him much, visited the house of Goethe, of 
whose writings, by the way, he had read only 
" Werther "—and that in a French translation ; he 
strolled along the banks of the Main, got bored, as 
is proper for a well-ordered traveller; at last, at 
six o'clock in the evening, he . found himself 
weary, with dusty feet, in one of the most insig- 
nificant streets of Frankfurt. For a long time 
thereafter he was unable to forget that street. 

7 



SPRING FRESHETS 

On one of its not very numerous houses he espied 
a sign: the '' Italian Confectionery Shop of Gio- 
vanni Roselli " announced itself to passers-by. 

Sdnin stepped in to drink a glass of lemonade ; 
but in the first room, where, behind a modest 
counter, on the shelves of a painted cupboard, 
suggestive of an apothecary's shop, stood several 
bottles with gilt labels, and a corresponding num- 
ber of glass jars filled with rusks, chocolate cakes, 
and caramels— in this room there was not a living 
soul; only a grey cat was blinking and purring, 
as she opened and shut her paws on a tall wattled 
chair near the window,— and, glowing vividly in 
the slanting rays of the evening sun, a big ball of 
scarlet wool lay on the floor, alongside an over- 
turned basket of carved wood. A confused noise 
was audible in the adjoining room. Sdnin stood 
still, and after allowing the little bell on the door 
to ring itself out, he exclaimed, raising his voice: 
" Is there any one here?" At that moment the 
door of the adjoining room opened— and Sanin 
was impelled to involuntary amazement. 

II 

Into the confectioner's shop, with her dark curls 
scattered over her shoulders, and bare arms ex- 
tended before her, ran impetuously a young girl 
of nineteen, and on catching sight of Sdnin, in- 
stantly rushed up to him, seized him by the hand, 

8 



SPRING FRESHETS 

and drew him after her, saying in a panting 
voice: ''Quick, quick, this way, to the rescue 1" 
Sdnin did not immediately follow the girl— not 
because of reluctance to comply with her request, 
but simply from excessive surprise— and re- 
mained, as it were, stubbornly rooted to the spot: 
in all his life he had never beheld such a beauty. 
She turned toward him— and ejaculated, with 
such despair in her voice, in her eyes, in the ges- 
ture of her clenched fist: " Come, pray come! "— 
that he immediately rushed after her through the 
open door. 

In the room, into which he ran behind the 
young girl, upon an old-fashioned horsehair 
couch, all white— white with yellowish reflections, 
like wax or ancient marble,— lay a lad of fourteen, 
who bore a striking resemblance to the young girl 
and was, evidently, her brother. His eyes were 
closed; the shadow of his heavy black hair fell in 
a patch upon his forehead, which seemed turned 
to stone, upon his slender, motionless eyebrows; 
his clenched teeth were visible between his blue 
lips. He did not seem to be breathing;— one 
arm lay on the floor, the other he had thrown 
above his head. The boy was fully dressed, and 
his clothing was buttoned up; a tight neckcloth 
compressed his neck. 

The young girl rushed to him with a shriek. 
" He is dead, he is deadl " she screamed; " a mo- 
ment ago he was sitting here, talking with me— 





SPRING FRESHETS 

and all of a sudden, he fell down and became mo- 
tionless . . . O my Grodl can it be that there is 
no help for it ? And mamma is not here ! Panta- 
leone, Pantaleone, what about the doctor?" she 
suddenly added in Italian: "Didst thou go for 
a doctor?" 

''I did not go, Signora, I sent Luisa/' rang 
out a husky voice beyond the door,— and limping 
on his crooked legs, there entered the room a little 
old man in a lilac dress-coat with black buttons, 
a tall white neckcloth, short nankeen trousers, and 
blue worsted stockings. His tiny face was quite 
concealed beneath a perfect pile of iron-grey 
hair. Standing up stiffly in all directions, and 
falling back again in dishevelled locks, it im- 
parted to the old man's figure a likeness to a 
crested hen,— a likeness the more striking in that 
beneath their dark-grey mass nothing was to be 
distinguished save a sharp-pointed nose and 
round, yellow eyes. 

" Luisa runs faster, and I cannot run," went 
on the little old man, in Italian, lifting his flat, 
gouty feet, clad in tall slippers with ribbon bows, 
alternately,— "but I have brought some water." 

In his gaunt, calloused fingers he clutched the 
long neck of a bottle. 

"But meanwhile £mile will diel" cried the 
girl, stretdiing out her hand toward SAnin.— 
"Oh, sir, O mein If err/— Cannot you help us?" 

"We must let blood— it is a stroke of apo- 
10 



SPRING FRESHETS 

plexy,**— remarked the old man, who bore the 
name of Fantaleone. 

Although Sdnin had not the faintest under- 
standing of the medical art, he knew one thing 
for a fixed fact: lads of fourteen do not have at- 
tacks of apoplexy. 

" It is a swoon, not an apoplectic fit,"— said he, 
addressing Fantaleone.—" Have you a brush? " 

The old man raised his tiny face a little.— 
"What?" 

"A brush, a brush,"— repeated Sanin, in Ger- 
man and in French. 

"A brush,"— he added, pretending in dumb- 
show that he was cleaning his clothes. 

At last the old man understood him. 

" Ah, a brush! Spazzette! Of course we have 
a brush!" 

" Bring it hither; we will take off his coat— and 
rub him." 

"Good .... Benonel And shall not we 
pour water on his head? " 

"No . . • afterward; go now, and fetch the 
brush as quickly as possible." 

Fantaleone set the bottle on the floor, ran out 
of the room, and immediately returned with two 
brushes, a hair-brush and a clothes-brush. A 
curly poodle accompanied him, and wagging his 
tail briskly, stared curiously at the little old man, 
the young girl and even Sanin— as though desir- 
ous of finding out what all this tumult meant. 

11 



SPRING FRESHETS 

Sanin promptly removed the coat of the pros- 
trate lad, unhooked his collar, stripped up his 
shirt-sleeves— and arming himself with the brush, 
began to rub his breast and arms with all his 
might. Pantaleone rubbed the hair-brush over 
his boots and trousers, with equal zeaL The girl 
flung herself on her knees beside the couch, and 
clutching her head with both hands, without 
winking an eyelash, she riveted her gaze on her 
brother's face. > 

Sdnin rubbed away,— and surveyed her with a 
sidelong gaze as he did so. Good heavens 1 what 
abeauty she was! 

Ill 

Her nose was rather large, but handsome, of the 
aquiline type; her upper lip was just barely 
shaded with down; on the other hand, her com- 
plexion was smooth and dead-white, precisely like 
ivory or milky amber; the shining masses of her 
hair were like those of Allori's " Judith " in the 
Palazzo Pitti,— and especially her eyes, dark 
grey, with a black rim around the pupil, were 
magnificent, conquering eyes,— even now when 
fright and grief had dimmed their lustre. • . . 
Sinin involuntarily called to mind the wondrous 
land whence he had just returned . . . Yes, 
even in Italy he had not met anything like her! 
The young girl breathed infrequently and un- 

12 



SPRING FRESHETS 

ev^y; she seemed each time to be waiting to see 
whether her brother would breathe, 

Sdnin continued to rub him ; but he did not look 
at the young girl alone. Pantaleone's original 
figure also attracted his attention. The old man 
grew quite weak, and panted for breath; with 
every stroke of the brush he gave a leap and 
a grunt, while his huge mass of shaggy hair, 
dampened with perspiration, rocked from side to 
side like the roots of a vast plant undermined by 
water. 

"Do take off his boots, at least,"— Sdnin felt 
like saying to him. • • • 

The poodle, probably excited by the unwonted- 
ness of what was going on, suddenly sank down 
on his forepaws and began to bark. 

" Tartaglia, canagUal ^^— hissed the old man at 
him. • . • 

But at that moment the young girl's face un- 
derwent a transformation; her eyes grew larger, 
and began to beam with joy. • . . Sanin glanced 
round . • . • A flush mounted to the face of the 
young man; his eyelids moved and his nostrils 
quivered. He inhaled air through his still 
clenched teeth, sighed .... 

"fimilel"- cried the girL . . . "Emilio 
rnio!'' 

Slowly the great black eyes opened. Their 
glance was still dull, but they were already smil- 
ing faintly; the same faint smile descended to 

18 



SPRING FRESHETS 

the pale lips. Then he moved his pendent arm— 
and with a flourish laid it on his breast. 

"Emiliol"— repeated the yomig girl, and 
half rose to her feet. The expression of her face 
was so strong and brilliant that it seemed as 
though her tears would spring forth or that she 
would break into laughter. 

"fimile! What is it? :fcmilel"— rang out a 
voice outside the door— and with swift steps, a 
neatly-attired woman, with silvery-grey hair and 
a swarthy complexion, entered the room. An 
elderly man followed her; the head of a maid- 
servant peered from behind his shoulders. 

The young girl ran to meet them. 

"He is saved, mamma, he lives!"— she ex- 
claimed, convulsively embracing the lady who 
had entered. 

"But what is the matter?"— repeated the lat- 
ter. . . " I am on my way home, when suddenly 
I meet the doctor and Luisa. ..." The girl 
began to relate what had happened, while the 
doctor stepped up to the sick boy, who was com- 
ing more and more to himself— and still con- 
tinued to smile: he seemed to be ashamed of the 
alarm which he had caused. 

" You have been rubbing him with brushes, I 
see,''— said the doctor to Sdnin and Pantaleone, 
— " and it was well done. ... A very good idea 
.... and now let us see what further reme- 
dies. • • •" 

14 



SFRING FRESHETS 

He felt the young man's pulse.—" H'ml show 
your tongue 1" 

The lady bent anxiously over him. He smiled 
more frankly than before, turned his eyes on her 
—and flushed scarlet. • . 

It occurred to Sdnin that his presence was be- 
coming superfluous; he went out into the confec- 
tioner's shop. But before he could grasp the 
handle of the street door» the young girl again ap- 
peared before him, and ^topped him. 

"You are going away,"— she began, gazing 
caressingly in his face; "I will not detain you, 
but you must come to us again this evening, with- 
out fail; we are so greatly indebted to you,— you 
may have saved my brother's life— we wish to 
thank you— mamma wishes to thank you. You 
must tell us who you are, you must rejoice with 
us. .... " 

" But I am setting out for Berlin to-day,"— 
stammered Stoin. 

" You will have plenty of time,"— returned the 
young girl vivaciously.- " Come to us an hour 
hence, to drink a cup of chocolate. Do you 
promise? But I must go back to him! Will you 
come?" 

What was there left for Sdnin to do? 

"I will," he replied. 

The beauty gave his hand a hasty pressure, and 
fluttered forth— and he found himself in the 
street. 

15 



SPRING* FRESHETS 



Wnsif Sdnin, an hour and a half later, returned 
to Roselli's confectionery shop, he was welcomed 
there like a relative. Emilio was sitting on the 
same couch on which they had rubbed him; the 
doctor had prescribed some medicine for him, and 
had reconmiended ^ great caution in the experi- 
ence of emotion/'-as being of a nervous tem- 
perament, and with a tendency to heart-disease. 
He had previously been subject to fainting fits; 
but never had an attack been so prolonged and so 
violent. The doctor had declared, however, that 
all danger was over. £mile wias dressed as befits 
a convalescent, in a loose dressing-gown; his mo- 
ther had wound a blue woollen kerchief round his 
neck; but he wore a cheerful, almost festive as- 
pect; and everjrthing round about him also wore a 
festive aspect. In front of the coudi, on a round 
table covered with a clean doth, and surrounded 
by cups, carafi^es with syrup, biscuits, and rolls, 
even with flowers,— rose a huge, porcelain coffee- 
pot filled with fragrant chocolate; six slender 
wax tapers burned in two antique silver cande- 
labra; on one side of th^ divan, a reclining chair 
opened its soft embrace— and Sdnin was placed 
In this chair. All the inhabitants of the conf ec- 
tionet*'s shop, with whom he had had occasion to 
make acquaintance that day, were present, not 

16 



SPBING FRESHETS 

excepting the poodle Tartaglia and the cat; all 
seemed unspeakably happy; the poodle eyen 
sneezed with pleasure; the cat alone, as before» 
kept blinking; and purring. They, made S^oin 
explain who he was, and whence he came, and 
what was his name; when he said that he was 
a Russian, both the ladies displayed some sur- 
prise, and even uttered an exclamation,— and im-^ 
mediately, in one voice, declared^ that he spoke 
German capitally; but if he found it more con- 
venient to express himself in French^ he might 
employ that language, as both of them under- 
stood it well, and expressed themselves well in iti 
Sdnin immediately availed himself ofthia sug- 
gestion. '^Sdnin! Sdninl"— The kdies had 
never supposed 'that a Russian surname could be 
so easily pitonounoed. His Christian name^ 
" Dmitry," also pleased them grejatly* The elder 
lady remarked that in her youth she had heard a 
fine opera: ''Demetrio e Polibio"— but that 
" Dmitry " was much nicer than " Demetrio.'' In 
this manner did Sdnin chat for about an hour. 
The ladite, on their side, initiated him into all the 
details. of their own life. The mother, the lady 
with the giey hair, did most of the talking. 
From her S&tkin learned that h^r. name was Xeo- 
nora Roselli; that she was the widow of Giovanni 
Battista Roselli, who had settled in Frankfurt 
twenty-five years previously, as a confectioner; 
that Giovanni Battista had been a native of 

17 






SPRING FRESHETS 

Viceiusa, and a very good, though rather peppery 
and irritable man, and a republican into the bar- 
gain! As she uttered these words, Signora Ro- 
selli pointed to his portrait, painted in oils, which 
hung over the coudi. We must assume that the 
artist— ''also a republican," as Signora Roselli 
remarked with a sigh— had not quite succeeded 
in catching the likeness,— for in his portrait the 
late Giovanni Battista was represented as a sort 
of grim and gloomy brigand— in the style of Ri- 
naldo Rinaldini! Signora Roselli herself was a 
native of ''the ancient and beautiful city of 
Parma, where there is sudi a magnificent dome» 
painted by the immortal Correggiol" But 
through prolonged residence in (Tcrmany, she 
had become almost a German. iThen Ae added» 
with a mournful shake of the head, that all she 
had left was this daughter, and this son (sAie 
pointed her finger at them in turn) ;— that her 
daughter's name was Gemma, and her son's, 
Emilio; that they were both very good and obe- 
dient diildren— especially Emilio . . • . ("I'm 
not obedient I " put in her daughter at this point; 
— " Okh, thou art a republican alsol " replied her 
mother) ;— that business was not as good now, of 
course, as in her husband's time, for he had been 
a great master in the confectioner's art ... . 
{"Un grandf womo/^^— interposed Pantaleone 
with a morose aspect) ; but that, nevertheless, 
they were able ta make a living, thank Godl 

18 



SPRING FRESHETS 



Gemma listened to her mother— now laughing, 
now sighing, now stroking her on the shoulder, 
again menacing her with her finger, now glancing 
at Sdnin; at last she rose, embraced her mother^ 
and kissed her on the neck,— on the throat just 
under the chin, which made the latter laugh a 
great deal and even squeal. Pantaleone was also 
introduced to Sinin. It appeared that he had 
formerly been an opera-singer, in barytone parts, 
but had long since dropped his theatrical occupa- 
tions, and had become something midway be- 
tween a friend of the house and a servant in the 
Roselli family. Notwithstanding his' long resi- 
dence in Grermany, he had acquired the German 
language only in an imperfect manner, and mer- 
cilessly murdered even the words of abuse. 
"Ferrofluchto spiccebubbiol '' was what he called 
nearly every German. But the Italian language 
he spoke in perfection, being a native of Siniga- 
glia, where is heard the ^' Ungwa toscana in hocca 
romanat'* Emilio was obviously pampering 
himself, and surrendering himself to the agree- 
able sensations of a man who has just escaped 
danger, or is convalescing; and, moreover, it was 
perceptible, from all the indications, that the 
members of the household spoiled him with pet- 
ting. He thanked Sdnin in a bashful way, but 

19 



SPRING FRESHETS 

devoted himself chiefly to the syrup and the 
candy. Sdnin was compelled to drink two large 
cups of superb chocolate, and to consume a re- 
markable amount of biscuits; no sooner had h^ 
swallowed one than Gemma offered him another 
—and it was impossible to refuse! He speedily 
felt himself quite at home: time sped on with in* 
credible swiftness. He had to tell a great deal 
about Russia in general, about Russian society; 
about the Russian peasant— and especially about 
the kazdks; about the War of 1812, about Peter 
the Great, the Kremlin, Russian ballads and 
bells. Boili of the ladies had but a very feeU^ 
conception of our vast and distant fatherland!; 
Signora Roselli, or, as she was more frequently 
called, Frau Lenore, even amazed Sdnin with the 
question: wheHier the famous ice-palace built in 
St. Petersburg during the last century, concern- 
ing which she had recently read sudi a curious 
article— in one of her deceased husband's books 
— "Bellezze deBe Arti"— was still in existence? 
—and in response to Sdnin's exclamation: "Can 
it be possible that you think there is never any 
summer in Russia!" Frau Lenore replied that 
up to that time she had depicted Russia to herself 
in the following manner: eternal snow, every one 
going about in fur cloaks, and everybody in the 
military service— but remai^kable hospitality, and 
all the peasants very obedient 1 Sdnin endeav- 
oured to impart to her and her daughter more ac- 

?0 



SPRING FRESHETS 

curate information. When the conversation 
turned on Russian music, he was immediately 
asked to sing some Russian air, and a tiny piano, 
with black keys instead of white and white in- 
stead of black, which stood in the room, was 
pointed out to him. He complied without fur- 
ther ado, and accompanying himself with two 
fingers of his right hand, and three of his left 
(the thumb, middle finger and little finger), he 
sang, in a thin, nasal tenor, first '' The Red Sa- 
rafdn,"* and then "Along a Paved Street." 
The ladies praised his voice and the music, but 
went into raptures more particularly over the 
softness and melody of the Russian langua^ 
and demanded a translation of the text. Sdnin 
complied with their request— but as the words 
of "The Red Sarafdn," and particularly those 
of " Along a Paved Street " {sur une rue pavie 
une jeune fiUe aUmt d I'^aw— thus did he ren- 
der iiie meaning of the original), could not in- 
spire his hearers with a lofty idea of Russian 
poetry, he first declaimed, then translated, theh 
sang Ptishkin's "I Remember a Wondrous 
JMEoment," set to music by Glinka, whose couplets 
in minor tones he slightly distorted. The ladies 
went into ecstasies,— Frau Lenore even discov- 
ered a wonderful resemblance between the Rus- 
sian language and the Italian. *' Mnogvirde*' 

iTIie saraf^ is the frock, suspended ' from the shoulders, of 
peMttit maideAS.— Tkanslatob. 

.21 



SPRING FRESHETS 

—''o v%efu''—"co mndi''—''9iam nd/'—and so 
forth. Even the names Pushkin (she pro- 
nounced it Pussekin) and Glinka sounded fa- 
miliar to her. Sanin, in his turn, requested the 
ladies to sing something: and they, also, were 
quite unaffected. Frau Lenore seated herself at 
the piano, and in company with Gemma, she sang 
several duettini and storneUi. The mother had 
once had a fine contralto; the daughter's voice 
was rather weak, but agreeable. 

VI 

It was not Gumma's voice, however, but the girl 
herself that Sdnin admired. He sat somewhat 
behind her and to one side, and thought to him- 
self that no palm-tree— even in the verses of 
Benediktoff , who was then the fashionable poet, 
—was capable of vying with the slender ele- 
gance of her figure. And when, at the sentimen- 
tal notes, she rolled her eyes upward, it seemed to 
him that there was no heaven which would not 
open wide at such a glance. Even old Panta- 
leone, who was leaning his shoulder against the 
jamb of the door, with his chin and mouth buried 
in his capacious neckcloth, listened sedately, with 
the air of an expert,— even he admired the face 
of the beautiful girl, and was amazed at it,— and 
yet, apparently, he must have been used to it! 
On finishing her duettino with her daughter, 



SPRING FRESHETS 

Frau Lienore remarked that Emilio had a capital 
voice— genuine silver— but that he had now at- 
tained the age when the voice undergoes a change 
— (in fact, he spoke in a sort of basso voice 
which was incessantly breaking) —and for that 
reason, he was forbidden to sing; but that Pan- 
taleone here might, in honor of the visitor, recall 
his earlier daysl Pantaleone immediately as- 
sumed an aspect of displeasure, frowned, rum- 
pled up his hair, and announced that he had long 
since given up all that sort of thing, although he 
really had been able, in his youth, to hold his own 
—and, moreover, in general, he belonged to that 
grand epodi when genuine, classical singers ex- 
isted—not to be mentioned in the same breath 
with the squallers of the present day I and a genu- 
ine school of singing; that a laurel wreath had 
once been presented to him, Pantaleone Cippa- 
tola, in Modena, and several white doves had even 
been set free in the theatre on that occasion; that, 
among others, a Russian Prince Tarbusky— ^'iZ 
Principe Tarbusski ''—wi^ whom he had been on 
the most intimate terms, had incessantly invited 
him, at supper,, to Russia, had promised him 
mountains of gold, mountains! . . . but that he 
had not been willing to leave Italy, the land of 
Dante— ''^iZ paege del Dantel ''—leAer on, of 
course, unfortunate circumstances arose, he him- 
self was incautious. • . . Here the old man in- 
terrupted himself, heaved a couple of profound 

28 



SPRING FRESHETS 

sighs, cast down his eyes— and again began tp 
talk about the classic era of singing, about the 
famous tenor Garcia, for whom he cherished a 
reverent, boundless respect. "There was a 
man ! "—he exclaimed. Never did the great Gar- 
cia— ''tZ gran Garcia/ ^'—condescend to sing like 
the wretched little tenors of the present day — 
the tenorecci— in falsetto: he always sang from 
the chest, the chest, voce di petto, si! The old 
man dealt himself a stiff blow on his neckcloth 
with his tiny, lean hand. And what an actor! A \ 
volcano, aignori mid, a volcano, un Vesuviol "I ^^ 
had the honour to sing with him in the opera 'deW 
iUustrissimo maestro Rossim '—in ' Otellol ' Gar- 
da was Otello— I was lago— and when he ut- 
tered this phrase . . . . " 

H^re Fantaleone struck an attitude, and began 
to sing in a hoarse and quavering, but still pa- 
thetic voice: 

^^L**!. . . . ra daver. ... so daver. . . . 
lo pi{| no. . . . no. . . . no. • . . non temer5 ! 

The theatre quaked, signori mieil but I did 
not stop; and I also sang after him: 

LM. . . . ra daver. ... so daver. . . . so il fitto 
Temer piil non dovr6 ! 

— \ 

And all at once he— like lightning, like a tiger: \^ 
^Morrd . ... ma xnndicato . • . . ' 

24 ^^ 



SPRING FRESHETS 

"Or here again, when he sang .... when he 
sang that celebrated aria from 'II Matrinvomo 
Segreto': Pria che spunti. . . . Then he, il gran 
Crorcia, after the words: I cavaUi di galoppo— 
did this on the words: Senza posa cacciera—V^* 
ten, how amazihg it is, com'd stupendof Then he 
did this. . . . '^ The old man tried to execute 
some remarkable sort of fioritura— but broke off 
Aort on the tenth note, cleared his throat, and 
with a wave of his hand, turned away, mutter^ 
ing:— "Why do you torture me?" Grcmma 
immediately sprang from her diair, and clapping 
her hands loudly, with the cry: '' Bravo I "ran to 
poor, retired lago, and tapped him affectionately 
on the shoulders with both hands, i^mile alone 
laughed mercilessly. '\Cet age est sans pitiS/'— 
La Fontaine has said. 

Sanin tried to comfort the aged singer, aAd 
began to talk with him in the Italian tongue*^ 
(he had picked up a little of it during his late 
journey) —began to talk about '^11 paese del 
Dante, dove U si suona/' This phrase, together 
with " Lasdate ogni speranza/* canstitvited the 
young tourist's entire poetical baggage in Ital- 
ian; but Pantaleone did not yield to his blan- 
dishments. Plunging his chin more deeply than 
ever into his neckdoth, .^and pFotroding his 
eyes morosely, he again ryembled a bird,^ and 
an enraged bird, at that,— a crow or a kite. 
Then 6mile,flushing slightly and momentarily,— 

«5 



SPRING FRESHETS 

as is generally the case with petted children,— 
turned to his sister, and said to her that if she 
wished to entertain the guest, she could devise no- 
thing better than to read him one of Malta's 
little comedies, which she read so well. Gemma 
laughed, slapped her brother's hand, and ex- 
claimed that he ''was always inventing some- 
thing of that sort I" Nevertheless, she imme- 
diately went to her own room, and returning 
thence with a small book in her hand, seated her- 
sdf at the table, near the lamp, cast a glance 
about her, raised her finger— as much as to say: 
"Silence!"— a purely Italian gesture— and be- 
gan to read. 

VII 

Maltz was a Frankfurt writer of the '80's, who, 
in his brief and lightly sketched little comedies, 
written in the local dialect, portrayed with amus- 
ing and dashing, although not profound humour, 
the local Frankfurt types. It appeared that 
Gemma really did read capitally— quite like an 
actress. She imparted a distinct hue to every per- 
sonage, and preserved his character finely, putting 
in play her power of mimicry, which she had in- 
herited along with her Italian blood; sparing 
neither her tender voice, nor her beautiful face, 
when it became necessary to portray either an 
old woman who had outlived her wits, or a stupid 

26 



SPRING FRESHETS 

burgomaster,— she made the most murth-provok- 
ing grimaces, screwed up her eyes, wrinkled her 
nose, lisped, squeaked shriUy. • . * She herself 
did not laugh while she was reading; but when 
her auditors (with the exception of Pantaleone, 
truth to tell: he immediately withdrew in dud- 
geon, as soon as it was a question of ''queUo fer- 
rofluckto Tedesco'') i—yihsn her auditO]!S inter- 
rupted her with bursts of hearty laughter^ she 
dropped the book on her knees, emitted a ringing 
laugh herself, with her head thrown back— and 
her black curls danced in soft tendrils on her 
neck, and over her quivering shoulders. When 
the laughter ceased, she immediately raised her 
book, and again imparting to her features the 
proper twist, seriously resumed her reading. 
Sanin could not recover from his amazement at 
her; what particularly struck him was this: by 
what miracle could so ideally-beautiful a face 
suddenly assume so comical, sometimes almost 
trivial an expression? Grcmma's rendering of the 
roles of young girls— the so-called '^jetmes pre- 
rnUres^^—was less satisfactory; she was particu- 
larly unsuccessful with the love scenes; she her- 
self was conscious of this, and therefore imparted 
to them a slight tinge of absurdity— as thou^ 
she did not believe in all those rapturous vows 
and high-flown speeches, from which, moreover, 
the author himself refrained, so far as that was 
possible. 

27 




SPRING FRESHETS 

S^nin did not observe how the evening was flit- 
ting by— and only recalled his impending jour- 
riey when the clock struck ten. He sprang from 
his chair as though he had been scalded. 
• '" What is the matter with you? "—asked Frau 
Lenore. 

" Why, I was to have set off to-day for Berlin 
—and I have already secured my place in the dili- 
gence I" 

" And when does the diligence start? " 

"Athalf-pasttenI" 

" Well, then you will not catch it,"— remarked 
Grcmma; ^'stay • • . and I will read some 
more." 

" Did you pay all the money down, or did you 
merely make a deposit?"— inquired Frau Le- 
hora. 

"I paid alll"— cried S&nin, with a sorry 
grimace. 

Gemma looked at him, narrowed her eyes— 
and laughed, but her mother reproved her.— 
'■The young man has spent his money for no- 
thing,— and thou laughestl" 

"Never mindl"— replied Grcmma;- "it will 
not ruin him, and we will try to console him. 
Would you like some lem(Hiade? " 

Sdnin drank a glass of lemonade, Gemma be- 
gan again on Maltz— and again everything 
flowed on as smoothly as though it had been oikd. 

28 



SPRING FRESHETS 

The clock struck twelve. Sdnin began to take 
leave. 

" Now you must remain for several days in 
Frankfurt,"— Gemma said to him: " what 's your 
hurry? Things will be no jollier in any other 
town/'— She paused. " Really, they will not,"— 
she added, smiling. Sdnin made no reply and 
reflected that, in view of the emptiness of his 
purse, he would be compelled, willy-nilly, to re^ 
main in Frankfurt, until an answer should arrived 
from a friend in Berlin, to whom he contemplated* 
applying for mon^; 

" Stay, do stay,"— Frau Lenore added her en- 
treaties. "We will introduce you to Gemma'9 
betrothed, Herr Karl Kliiber. He could not 
come to-day, because he is very btusy in his shop 
.... siu"ely you must have noticed in the Zeil 
the largest shop for cloths and silken materials? 
Well, he is the chief man there. But he will be 
very glad to be presented to you." 

This piece of information chagrined Sanin 
somewhat— (Jod knows why. "That bet]K)thed 
is a lucky fellow I " flashed iluDUgh his mind. He 
glanced at Gremma— and it seemed to him that 
he descried a mocking expression in her eyes. 
He began to take leave. 

" Until to-morrow? It is until tonnorrow,' is it 
not?"— asked Frau Lenore. 

Until to-morrow I" articulated Gemma, not 
29 



(C ' 



SPRING FRESHETS 

in an interrogative but in an affirmative tone, as 
though it could not be otherwise. 

"Until to-morrow I "—responded Sanin. 

Emile, Pantaleone, and the poodle Tartaglia 
escorted him to the comer of the street Panta- 
leone could not refrain from expresmng his dis- 
pleasure over Gemma's reading. 

'' She ought to be ashamed of herself! She 
writhes and squeals— una caricatura! She ought 
to personate Merope or Clytemnestra— some- 
thing grand, tragic— but she mimics some mis- 
erable German female! I can do that myself 
.... 'Mertz, kertz, 9mertz/"—he added, in a 
hoarse voice, thrusting forward his face, and 
spreading out his fingers. Tartaglia began to 
bark at him, and £mile burst into loud laughter. 
The old man turned back abruptly. 

Sdnin returned to his hostelry, "The White 
Swan " (he had left his things there, in the gen- 
eral room) , in a decidedly confused state of mind. 
All those German-French-Italian conversations 
were fairly ringing in his ears. 

"An affianced bride!"— he whispered, as he 
lay in bed, in the modest diamber assigned to him. 
" But what a beauty! But why did I stay? " 

Nevertheless, on the following day, he des- 
patched a letter to his friend in Berlia* 



80 



SPRING FRESHETS 



VIII 

Befobe he had succeeded in getting dressed a 
waiter announced to him the arrival of two gen- 
tlemen. One of them turned out to he Emile; 
the other, a stately well-grown young ihan, with 
an extremely handsome face, was Herr Karl 
Eluber, the betrothed of the lovely Gemma. 

We are at liberty to infer that, at that time, 
there was not, in a single shop in the whole of 
Frankfurt, so polite, decorous, dignified, and 
amiable a head-clerk as Herr Kliiber showed 
himself to be. The irreproachableness of hia 
toilet equalled the dignity of his demeanour, the 
elegance— somewhat affected and constrained; 
it is true, after the English fashion (he had 
spent a couple of years in England)— but^ 
nevertheless, engaging elegance of his manners I 
At the very first glance it became clear that 
this handsome, rather stiff, excellently educated 
and capitally washed young man was accus-f 
tomed to obey his superiors and to command his 
inferiors, and that behind the counter of his 
shop he was bound to evoke the respect even of 
his patrons! As to his supernatural honesty 
there could not exist the shadow of a doubt. A 
glance at his stiffly-starched cuffs was all that 
was required. And his voice proved to be just 
what was to have been expected: thick and self- 

81 



SPRING FRESHETS 

confidently-succulent, but not too loud, with 
even a certain caressing quality in the timbre. 
Such a voice is particularly well adapted for 
issuing orders to subordinate clerks: '' Show that 
piece of crimson Lyons velvet!"— or, "Give 
the lady a chair 1 " 

Herr Kliiber began by introducing himself, 
during which operation he bent his form in so 
noble a manner, moved his feet so agreeably, 
and clicked one heel against the other so cour- 
teously, that one was bound to feel: " This man's 
body-linen and spiritual qualities are of the first 
Ofrderl " The elaborate finish of his bare right 
hand— (in his left, clad in a glove of undressed 
kid, he held a hat polished like a mirror, at the 
bottom of which lay the other glove) — the elab- 
orate finish of that right hand, which he mod* 
eartly but firmly offered to Sdnin,— exceeded all 
belief: every nail was perfection in its way I 
Then he announced, in the choicest of Grermah, 
that he had wished to express his respects and 
his gratitude to Monsieur the Stranger, who had 
rendered sudi an important service to his future 
relative, the brother of his affianced bride; where- 
upon, he waved his left hand, whidi held his hat, 
in the direction of £mile, who seemed to feel 
ashamed, and, turning away to the window, 
Muck his finger in his mouth. Herr Kliiber 
added that he should consider himself happy 
if he, on his part, were in a position to do any- 

82 



SPRING FRESHETS 

thing agreeable for Monsieur the Stranger. 
Sdnin replied, not without some difficulty, also 
in German, that he was delighted . . . that his 
service had been of very slight importance .... 
and begged his visitors to be seated. Herr 
Kliiber thanked him— and, immediately draw- 
ing aside the skirts of his frock-coat, dropped 
into a chair— but dropped so lightly, and held 
himself upon it in so precarious a manner, that 
it was impossible not to think: '' This man has 
seated himself out of politeness— and will flutter 
off again in another minute! " And, as a matter 
of fact, he did flutter off immediately, and shift- 
ing bashfully from one foot to the other a 
oouple of times, as though dancing, he an- 
nounced that, unhappily, he could not remain 
longer, for he was hastening to his shop— busi- 
ness before everything I— but, as to-morrow was 
Sunday, he had, with the consent of Frau Le- 
nore and Fraulein Gemma, arranged a plea- 
sure-party to Soden, to which he had the honour 
of inviting Monsieur the Stranger— and he 
cherished the hope that the latter would not re- 
fuse to adorn it with his presence. S^in did not 
refuse to adorn it— and Herr Kliiber made his 
obeisance a second time, and withdrew, pleas- 
antly fluttering his trousers of the most tender 
greyish-yellow hue, and squeaking the soles of 
his very new boots in an equally agreeable 
manner. 

S8 



SPRING FRESHETS 



IX 

£mil£, who continued to stand with his face to 
the window, even after Sdnin's invitation to 
" he seated "—wheeled round to the left, as soon 
as his future relative was gone— and, grimac- 
ing and blushing in childish fashion, asked Sd- 
nin whether he might remain a little longer with 
him. " I am much better to-day,"— he added,— 
" but the doctor has forbidden me to work." 

"Pray, remain! You do not incommode me 
in the least,"— instantly exclaimed Sdnin, who, 
like all true Russians, was delighted to grasp at 
the first pretext which presented itself to escape 
being forced to do anything himself. 

£mile thanked him— and, in the very briefest 
space of time, had made himself entirely at 
home both with him and with his quarters. He 
scrutinised his things, and asked questions about 
nearly every one of them: where he had bought 
this, and what were its merits? He helped him 
to shave, remarking incidentally that he made 
a mistake in not allowing his moustache to grow; 
—he finally imparted to him a multitude of de- 
tails concerning his mother, his sister, Pantale- 
one, even the poodle Tartaglia, and about their 
whole manner of life. Every trace of timidity 
had vanished from £mile; he suddenly experi- 
enced a remarkable attraction toward Sdnin— 

84 



SPRING FRESHJETS 

and that not in thq least because the latter had 
saved his life the day before, but because he was 
such a sympathetic manl He made no delay in 
confiding all his secrets to Sdnin. He insisted 
with special fervour on the faxrt that his mamma 
was positively set upon making a merchant of 
him— while he knew for a certainty that he was 
bom to be an artist, a musician, a singer; that the 
theatre was his true vocation; that even Pantale- 
one encouraged him, but that Herr Kliiber up^ 
held his mamma, over whom he had great in- 
fluence; that the very idea of making a merdiant 
of him belonged to Herr Kliiber, according to 
whose conceptions nothing in the world could 
compare with the calling of the merchant! . To 
sell cloth and velvet, and swindle the public, to 
get from it ''Narren- oder RusserirPreUe " (fools* 
or Russians' prices) —that was his ideal 1 ^ 

"Well, never mind I now we must go to our 
house! "—exclaimed he, as soon as Sinin had 
c(Hnpleted his toilet, and had written his letter to 
Berlin. 

" It is early yet,"— remarked S^in. 

" That makes no difference,"— said ^mik^ 
eoaxingly. "Come along! We will stop at 
the post-office— and from there go on to our 

*lii days gone by— yes, and probably ercn now— there has been 
no diange in this respect: when, beginning with the month of May; 
a mnltitade of Russians made their Appearance in Frankfurt, the 
prices rose in all the shops, and received the title of " B^MMen^"^ 
or, alasl— "i^arrsn-Pr^ws,"— AuTHOi's Now. 

85 



SPRING FKESHETS 

house* Gemma will be so glad to see youl 
You shall breakfast with us ... . you can 
say Aimething to mamma about me, about my 
career. . . ." 

"Well, come cm, then,"— said Sdnin— and 
they set out 



Gemma really was delighted to see him, and 
Frau Lenore greeted him in a very friendly wise. 
It was plain that he had produced a good im- 
prossion on all of them the preceding evening. 
Emile ran to see about breakfast, with a prelim- 
inary whisper in Sdnin's ear: " Don*t forget I " 
"I will not,"— replied Sdnin. 
. Frau Lenore was not feeling quite well: she 
was suffering from a sick headache— and, half 
redining in an arm-diair, she tried to avoid mov- 
ing. Gremma wore a loose yellow moming^- 
gown, girt with a black leather belt; she, also, 
appeared fatigued, and had grown a little pale; 
dark circles shadowed her eyes, but their bril- 
liancy was not diminished thereby, and hei! pal- 
lor ifnparted a certain mystery and charm to the 
classic severity of her features. S^nin was par- 
ticularly impressed that day by the elegant 
beauty of her hands. When she adjusted and 
held up with them her dark, lustrous curls he 
could not tear bis eyes from her fingers, slender 

86 



SPRING FRESHETS 

and long, and standing apart from one another, 
as in Raffaele's " Fomarina." 

was very hot out of doors. After break- 
fast Sanin started to go away, but he was told 
that on such a day it was better not to move 
from one spot— and he assented; he remained. 
In the rear room, in which he sat with his host- 
esses, coolness reigned; the windows opened 
upon a tiny garden, overgrown with acacias. A 
multitude of bees, wasps, and bumble-bees 
hummed sturdily and greedily in their thick 
brandies, studded with golden flowers; through 
the half -closed shutters and lowered shades that 
unceasing sound penetrated into the room: it 
spoke of the sultry heat disseminated in the 
outer air— and the coolness of the closed and 
comfortable dwelling became all the more sweet 
by reason of it. 

As on the preceding evening, Sdnin talked 
a great deal, but not about Russia, and not about 
Russian life. Desirous of gratifying his young 
friend, who was sent off to Herr Kliiber im- 
mediately after breakfast, to practise book- 
keeping, he turned the conversation upon the 
comparative advantages and disadvantages of 
art and commerce. He was not surprised that 
Frau Lenore upheld the side of commerce— he 
had expected that; but Gemma also shared her 
opinion. 

" If you are an artist,-^ and especially a 

3T 



SPRING FRESHETS 

•singer/'— she asserted, with an energetic down- 
ward movement of her hand,—" you must, with- 
out fail, be in the first place ! The second is good 
for nothing; and who knows whether you can 
attain to the first place?"— Pantaleone, who 
was also taking part in the conversation^ (in his 
quality of ancient servitor and an old man, he 
was even permitted to sit on a diair in the pres- 
. ence of his mistress; the Italians, in general, are 
not strict as to etiquette) — Pantaleone, as a mat- 
ter of course, stood up stoutly for art. Truth 
to tell, his arguments were decidedly feeble. He 
talked chiefiy about the necessity, first of all, of 
possessing un certo estro d'inspirazione—a, cer- 
tain impetuosity of inspiration. Frau Lenore 
observed to him that he himself, of course, did 
possess that ''estro/'—snd yet . ..." I had 
enemies," — remarked Pantaleone, morosely. — 
" Well, but how dost thou know "— (the Ital- 
ians, as every one knows, easily fall into address- 
ing as " thou ") — " that Emile also will not have 
enemies, even if that 'eatro' should be discov- 
ered in him?"— "Well, then, make, a shop- 
keeper out of him,"— said Pantaleone, angrily. 
— " But Giovan' Battista would not have acted 
so, even if he was a confectioner himself! "— 
"Giovan' Battista, my husband, was a sensible 
man— and even if he was tempted in his 
youth . . . ." But the old man would no 
longer listen, and took himself off, after having 

88 



SPRING FRESHETS 

onoe more said reproachfully: '*AhI Giovah' 
Battistal'' . . . Gemma exclaimed that if 
flmile felt himself a patriot, and wished to con- 
secrate all his forces to the emancipation of 
Italy,— of course, for such a lofty and sacred 
aim a safe future might be sacrificed— but not 
for the theatre! At this point, Frau Lenore be- 
gan excitedly to entreat her daughter not to lead 
her brother astray, at least,— and to be content 
with the fact that she herself was such a desper- 
ate republican! After uttering these words, 
Frau Lenore groaned, and began to complain of 
her head, whidi " was ready to burst,'* (Frau 
Lenore, out of respect for her guest, talked in 
French to her daughter.) 

Gemma immediately began to tend her, 
breathed softly on her brow, first moistening it 
with eau de cologne, softly kissed her cheeks, 
laid her head on a cushion, forbade her to speak 
—and kissed her again. Then, turning to Sanin, 
she began to tell him, in a half -jesting, half- 
moved tone, what a splendid mother she had, 
and what a beauty she had been! '" Why do I 
say, 'has been!' she is charming even now. 
Look, look, what eyes she has! " 

Gemma immediately pulled from her pocket 
a white handkerchief, covered her mother's face 
with it— and slowly lowering the edge from 
above downward, gradually revealed the fore- 
bead, the eyebrows, and the eyes of Frau Lenore. 

89 



SPRING FRESHETS 

She paused, and requested her to open them. 
Her mother obeyed; Gemma cried aloud with 
rapture (Frau Lenore's eyes really were very 
handsome) —and swiftly slipping the handker- 
diief past the lower, less regular portion of her 
mother's face, she began to kiss her again. Frau 
Lenore laughed, and turned slightly away, and 
thrust her daughter from her with some little 
force. The latter pretended to wrestle with her 
mother, and nestled up to her— yet not cat-wise, 
or in the French manner, but with that Italian 
grace, in which the presence of strength is al- 
ways to be felt. 

At last Frau Lenore declared that she was 
weary. . . . Then Gemma immediately advised 
her to take a little nap, there, in her chair,—" and 
the Russian gentleman and I . . ' avec U mon- 
gieur ruMe^— will be so quiet, so quiet— like lit- 
tle mice .... comme des petits souris." Frau 
Lenore smiled at her in reply, closed her eyes, 
and after drawing a few long breaths, fell into 
a doze. 

Gremma briskly dropped upon a bench beside 
her and made no further movement, except that, 
from time to time, she raised the finger of one 
hand to her lips— with the other, she was support- 
ing tiie cushion under her mother's head-^and 
hissed in a barely-audible manner, casting a side- 
long glance at Sdnin, when the latter permitted 
himself the slightest movement. It ended in his 

40 



SPRING FRESHETS 

becoming as still as death, and sitting immovably, 
as though enchanted^ and with all the powers of 
his soul admiring the picture which was presented 
to him by this half -^iark room, where here and 
there, like brilliant spots, glowed fresh, magnifi-* 
cent roses, placed in antique, green glasses— and 
that slumbering woman, with modestly-folded 
hands, and a kind, weary face, framed in the 
snowy white of the pillow, and that young, alertly- 
watchful and likewise kind, clever, pure, and un- 
speakably-beautiful being, with those deep black 
eyes, filled with shadow and yet beaming. • • • 
What was it? A dream? A fairy-tale? And 
how came he there? 

XI 

The little bell tinkled over the outer door. A 
young peasant lad, in a fur cap and a red waist- 
coat, entered the confectionery shop from the 
street. From early morning, not a single cus- 
tomer had even peeped into it. . . . "That *s the 
way we do business! "— Frau Lenore had re- 
marked to Sdnin, with a sigh, during breakfast. 
She continued to sleep; G^mma was afraid to re^ 
move her hand from the pillow, and whispered to 
Sinin: " Go, trade for me I '* Sdnin immediately 
stole out on tiptoe to the shop. The lad wanted 
a quarter of a pound of mint lozenges.—" How 
much shall I diarge him? "— Sinin asked Gremma 

41 



SPRING FRESHETS 

in a whisper, through the door.— ''Six kreutsersl" 
—she replied, in a corresponding whisper. Si- 
nin weighed out a quarter of a pound, hunted up 
some paper, made a horn of it, wrapped up the 
lozenges, spilled them, wrapped them up again, 
spilled them again, and finally delivered them, 
and received the money. . . . The boy stared at 
him in amazement, twisting his cap about on his 
belly, and in the adjoining room, Gremma stopped 
up her mouth, and swooned with laughter. Be- 
fore that customer could retire, another made his 
appearance, then a third. . . . ** Evidently, I 
bring luck I " thought S^nin. The second asked 
for a glass of orgeat; the third, for half a pound 
of candy. Sdnin waited on them, rattling the 
spoons with zeal, setting out saucers, and boldly 
dipping his fingers into drawers and jars. On 
reckoning up, it appeared that he had asked too 
little for the orgeat, and had charged two kreut- 
zers too much for the candy. Gemma did not 
cease to laugh quietly, and S^nin was conscious 
of an unwonted, peculiarly happy frame of mind. 
It seemed as though he could stand like that be* 
hind a counter all his life, and deal out orgeat 
and candy, while sudi a lovely being was watdi- 
ing him from behind the door with eyes^fulL^ r 
friendly ridicule; and the summef^un, forcing i 
its way through the dense f oUage of the chestnut- 
trees which grew in front of the windows, filled 
the whole room with the greenish-golden rays of 

42 -^ 



SPKING FRESHETS 

noonday^ with noonday shadows, and the heart 
grew tender with the sweet languor of idleness, 
freedcxn from care, and youth— early youth I 

The fourth customer ordered a cup of coffee; 
he was obliged to have recourse to Pantaleone 
(^mile had not yet returned from Herr Kliiber's 
shop). Sdnin seated himself again by Gumma's 
side. Frau Lenore continued to sleep, to the 
great satisfaction of her daughter.—" Mamma's 
headadie passes off while she sleeps,"— she re- 
marked. S^nin began to talk— in a whisper, as 
before, of course— about his "trade"; inquired 
very seriously as to the prices of the various " con- 
fectionery" wares; Gemma, in an equally seri- 
ous manner, told him the prices, and, in the mean- 
time, both laughed inwardly and heartily, as 
though conscious that they were playing a very 
amusing comedy. All at once, in the street, a 
hand-organ struck up the air: '' Durch die F elder, 
durch die Auen/* • . • The plaintive sounds 
wailed quavering and whistling on the motionless 
air. Gemma shuddered. ..." He will waken 
mammal " Sdnin instantly ran out into the street, 
thrust several kreutzers into the hand of the or- 
gan-grinder—and made him stop and go away. 
When he returned. Gemma thanked him with a 
slight nod of the head, and, pensively smiling, 
began herself, in a barely-audible voice, to hum 
Weber*s beautiful melody, in which Max ex- 
presses all the bewilderment of first love* Then 

48 



SPRING FRESHETS 

she asked Sdnin whether he was acquainted with 
" Frdispchiitz," whether he liked Weber, and 
added that, although she herself was an Italian, 
she loved such music best of all. From Weber 
the conversation glided to poetry and romanti- 
cism, to Hoffmann, whom every one was reading 
at that time. • • 

And Frau Lenore slept on, and even snored 
faintly, and the rays of sunlight, piercing 
through the shutters in narrow strips, impercep- 
tibly, but incessantly, moved about and travelled 
bver the floor, over the furniture, over Gumma's 
gown, over the leaves and petals of the flowers. 

XII 

It appeared that Gemma did not particularly 
I favour Hoffmann, and even found him ^ . . thre^ 
scfinel The fantastically-obscure, northern ele- 
ment of his tales was not very perceptible to her 
bright, southern nature. "They are all fairy 
tales, written for children I " she asserted, not 
without disdain. She also had a confused con- 
sciousness of the absence of poetry in Hoffmann. 
But there was one of his tales, whose title, 
however, she had forgotten, which pleased her 
'gneatly. Properly speaking, only the beginning 
of the tale pleased her: she had not read the end, 
or had forgotten it also. It was about a young 
man, who, somewhere or other, in a confectioner's 

44 



SPRING FRESHETS 

shop, so far as she remembered, meets a yomig i 
girl of striking beauty, a Greek; she is acoom- 1 >^ 
panied by a mysterious and queer old man. The l 
young man falls in love with the girl at the first ^ i 
glance; she gazes at him so pitifully, as though ^ 
entreating him to set her free. . . . He .with- 
draws for a moment— and on returnix^ to the 
confectioner's shop, he no longer finds either the 
young girl or the old man ; he rushes to seek her, ; 
is incessantly coming across perfectly fresh traces || 
of them, follows them— and by no means, no-' 
where, never can he overtake them. The bet,uty 
vanishes from him forever and ever— and he is I 
powerless to forget h^r beseeching look, and isp 
tortured by the thought that, perchance, all thej 
hiappiness of his life has slipped out of his hands. 

Hoffmann hardly ends his tale in just that 
way; but so she had constructed it, 'and so it re- 
mained in Gemma's memory. 

" It seems to me,"— she said,—" that such 
meetings and such partings occur in the world 
more frequently than we think." 

Sanin remained silent .... and, a little while 
later, began to talk about .... Herr Eliiber. 
It was the first time he had mentioned him : he had 
not even alluded to him until that moment. 

Gemma became silent, in her turn, and medi- 
tated, lightly biting the nail of her forefinger, and 
fixing her eyes on one side. Then she began to 
laud her betrothed, referred to the pleasure-party 

45 



Sl>RING FRESHETS 

which he had arranged for the following day, 
and, darting a swift glance at Sinin, she re- 
lapsed into silence again. 

Sinin did not know what subject of conversa- 
tion to start. 

£mile ran noisily in, and woke Frau Lenore. 
• • . Sdnin rejoiced at his arrival. 

Frau Lenore rose from her chair. Pantaleone 
presented himself, and announced that dinner 
was ready. The household friend, the ex-singer 
and servant, also discharged the functions of 
cook. 

XIII 

Sanin remained even after dinner. They would 
not let him go, still under the same pretext of 
the frightful sultriness,— and when the sultriness 
abated, they proposed to him to go into the gar- 
den, and drink coffee under the shade of the 
acacias. Simn accepted. He felt greatly at his 
ease. In the monotonously-quiet and smoothly- 
flowing current of life great delights are hidden, 
— and he surrendered himself to them with delec- 
tation, demanding nothing in particular from the 
present day, but also thinking nothing about the 
morrow, recalling not yesterday. What was not 
proximity to such a young girl as G^mma worth? 
He would soon part from her, and, in all proba- 
bility, forever; but while one and the same bark 

46 



SPRING FRESHETS 

bears them along the cahned floods of life, as in 
Uhland's romance— rejoice, enjoy thyself, O 
traveller 1 And everything seemed pleasant and 
charming to the happy voyager. Frau Lenore 
proposed that he should contend with her and 
Pantaleone at "tresette," taught him that far 
from complicated Italian game of cards— won a 
few kreutzers from him— and he was greatly 
pleased. Pantaleone, at the request of Emile, 
made the poodle Tartaglia to go through alibis 
tricks— and Tartaglia leaped over a stick, 
'' talked," that is to say, barked, sneezed, shut the 
door with his nose, fetched the patched slipper 
of his master,— and, to wind up, with an old shako 
cm his head, represented Marshal Bemadotte, 
subjected to the harsh reproofs of the Emperor 
Napoleon for his treadiery. Pantaleone, of 
course, represented Napoleon— and represented 
him very faithfully. He folded his arms on his 
diest, pulled a three-cornered hat down over his 
eyes— and spoke roughly and sharply, in French; 
but, O heavens, in what French 1 Tartaglia sat 
up in front of his commander, all shrivelled up, 
with his tail tucked between his legs, and wink- 
ing and screwing up his eyes confusedly under 
the visor of the shako, which was on awry. From 
time to time, when Napoleon raised his voice, Ber- 
nadotte rose on his hind legs. '' Fuori, tradi- 
tore!*' shouted Napoleon, at last, forgetting, in 
the excess of his indignation, that he ought to 

AT 



SPRING FRESHETS 

preserve his French character to the end— and 
'Bemadotte dashed headlong under the divan, 
hut immediately sprang out again, with a joyful 
hark, as though giving it to be understood that 
the performance was at an end. All the specta- 
tors laughed a great deal— and Sdnin most of all. 

Gremma had a peculiarly charming, incessant, 
quiet laugh, interspersed with very amusing little 
squeaks. • . • S^uiin fairly went to pieces under 
that laugh— he would have liked to kiss her, for 
those squeaks! 

Night came at last. One must not abuse kind- 
ness I After bidding them all good night several 
times, after saying several times to all of them: 
" Farewell until to-morrow!" (he even exchanged 
kisses with llSmile) , Sdnin wended his way home- 
ward, and carried with him the image of the 
young girl, now lau^iing, now pensive, now com- 
posed, and even indifferent— but always fasci- 
nating! Her eyes, now widely-opened and bright 
and joyous as the day, again half -veiled by her 
lashes, and deep, and dark as night, fairly stood 
before his eyes, strangely and sweetly piercing 
through all other images and scenes. 

Of Herr Kliiber, of the cause which had 
moved him to linger in Frankfurt— in a word, 
of all that which had agitated him on tiie pre- 
ceding day— he did not think even once. 



48 



SPRING FRESHETS 

XIV 

But we must say a few words about Sdnin him- 
self. / 

In the first place, he was very, very far from 
being bad-looking. A stately, slender figure, 
agreeable, rather formless features, small caress- 
ing blue eyes, golden hair, a white-and-red com- 
plexion—chief of all, that artlessly-merry, con- 
fiding, frank expression, rather stupid at first 
right, by v^ ch^Tn~^times gone by, jt was pos- ^ 
^ble instant ly to recognise the childrenof "cGgnT- 
fied no ble families, " father's '' sons, nice young 
lordlings, bom arid fattened in our spacious, 
half -steppe regions;— a walk with a hitch, a 
voice with a lisp, a smile like that of a child, 
as soon as one glances at it. . . . In conclusion, 
freshness, health— and softness, softness, soft- 
ness,— there you have Sanin complete. And in 
the second place, he was not stupid, and had ac- 
quired a few things. He remained fresh, not- 
withstanding his trip abroad. The^ -agitated 
en^tions, which tossed with storm the best part 
e Uhe yo uth of that day, were little known to 

Of late, in our literature, after the vain search 
for "new men," people have begun to depict 
youths who have made up their minds, cost what 
% may, to remaiiTfresh .... fresh as Flena-- 

40 




SPRING FRESHETS 

burg oysters imported to St. Petersburg, . . • 
Sdnin did not resemble them. And, as k>ng as 
it has become a question of comparisons, he re- 
minded one, rather, of a bushy young apple-tree» 
recently planted in our black-earth orchards, — 
or, better still, of a well-groomed, smooth, thick- 
legged, tender three-year-old of former " gen- 
tlemen's " stud-farms, whom they have just be- 
gun to lead with a thong. . . • Those who came 
in contact with Sdnin later on, when life had 
thoroughly broken him in, and the youngs fleet- 
ing plumpness had long since worked off of him» 
\ bdield m^EmTa'toital^ different man. ~ 

On the following day, Sdnin was still in bed, 
when Emile, in holiday attire, with a slender 
cane in his hand, and heavily pomaded, burst 
into his room, and announced that Herr E^liiber 
would be there directly wif)i a carriage, and that 
the weather promised to be wonderfully fine, 
that they already had everything in readiness, 
but that manuna would not go, because her head 
was aching again. He began to urge Sdnin to 
haste, assuring him that he had not a minute 
to lose. . . . And, in fact, Herr Kluber found 
Sdnin still busy with his toilet. He knocked at 
the door, entered, bowed, inclined his body, ex- 
pressed a readiness to wait as long as he liked 
—and sat down, with his hat resting elegantly 
against his knee. The good-looking derk had 

50 



SPRING FRESHETS 

dressed himself foppishly and scented himself 
to excess; his every movement was accompanied 
by an augmented billow of the most delicate per- 
fume. He had arrived in a ccHnmodious, open 
carriage, a so-called landau, drawn by two 
powerful and well-grown, though not handsome 
horses. A quarter of an hour later, Sdnin, Klii- 
ber, and Emile drove up triumphantly, in that 
same carriage, to the door of the confectionery 
diop. Signora Roselli positively refused to take 
part in the excursion; G^mma wished to remain 
with her mother; but the latter drove her out, 
as the saying is. 

" I want no one,"— she asserted. " I am go- 
ing to sleep. I would send Pantaleone with 
you,"— she added,— "but there would be no one 
left to tend the shop." 

" May we take Tartaglia? "—asked i^mile. 

" Certainly you may." 

Tartaglia immediately, with joyful efforts, 
clambered up onto the box and seated himself, 
licking his chops. Evidently, he was used to 
it. Gremma donned a large straw hat with light- 
brown ribbons; this hat was bent down in front, 
shading nearly the whole of her face from the 
sun. The line of shadow was drawn just above 
her lips. They glowed virginally and tenderly, 
like the petals of a hundred-leaved rose, and her 
teeth gleamed out by stealth— also innocently, 
as with diildren. Gemma installed herself on 

51 



SPRING FRESHETS 

the back seat, beside Sanin; Kliiber and Emile 
seated themselves opposite. Frau Lenore*s pale 
face showed itself at the window, G^emma waved 
her handkerchief at it— and the horses started. 

XV 

SoDEN is a small town, half an hour's journey 
from Frankfurt. It lies in a beautiful situation, 
on the foot-hills of the Taunus range, and is 
known to us, in Russia, for its waters, whidi are 
supposed to be good for people with weak 
chests. Frankfurters resort thither chiefly for 
diversion, as Soden possesses a fine park and 
various Wirthschaften, where beer and coffee 
can be drunk under the shade of lofty lindens 
and maples. The road from FranJsfurt to 
Soden runs along the right bank of the Main, 
and is planted throughout with fruit-trees. 
While the carriage was rolling gently along the 
excellent highway, Sinin stealthily watched 
Gumma's behaviour to her betrothed. He saw 
them together for the first time. She bore her- 
self with composure and simplicity— but was 
somewhat more reserved and serious than usual. 
He had the gaze of a condescending superior, 
who was permitting himself and his subordinates 
a modest and discreet pleasure. Sinin observed 
no special attentions to G«mma» nothing of that 
whidi the French call empressement, on his 

52 



SPRING FRESHETS 

part. It was evident that Herr Kliiber consid^ 
ered that the matter was settled, and, therefore, 
there was no cause for bothering himself or get- 
ting agitated. But his condescension did not 
abandon him for a single mcxnentl Even dur- 
ing the long stroll before dinner, over the 
wooded hills and valleys behind Soden, even 
while enjojring the beauties of nature, he bore 
himself toward it, that same nature, ever with 
the same condescension, through which, from 
time to time, his wonted sternness of a superior 
broke forth. Thus, for example, he remarked ; 
about one brook that it ran too straight through | 
the hollow, instead of making a few picturesque ! 
turns; neither did he approve of the conduct of j 
one bird— a chaffinch, which did not introduce 
enough variations into its song. G^emma^was 
not bored, and even, to all appearances, was 
pleased; but Sdnin did not recognise in her the 
former Grcmma: not that a shadow had come 
over her— her beauty had never been more ra- 
diant than now— but her soul had retreated into 
itself, within her. Opening her parasol, and 
leaving her gloves buttoned, she walked on 
sedately, without haste,— as well-trained young 
girls do— and said little. !^mile also felt con- 
strained, much more so Sdnin. Among other 
things, he was somewhat embarrassed by the 
circumstance that the conversation was oOur 
ducted uninterruptedly in the German Ian*) 

58 



i^MmJ H 



SPRING FRESHETS 

guage. Tartaglia was the only one who was 
not depressed! With wild barking, he da^ed 
after the thrushes which crossed his path, leaped 
over gullies, stumps, water-holes; he hurled him- 
self with a flourish into the water, and hastily 
lapped it up, shook himself, whined— and again 
bounded off like an arrow, with his red tongue 
lolling out on his very shoulder. Herr Kliiber, 
on his side, did everything whidi he regarded 
as necessary for the amusement of the party* 
He invited them to sit down beneath the shadow 
of a spreading oak— and, pulling from his side^ 
pocket a small book, entitled '^ Knallersleben— 
Oder du soUst und xoiUst lachenf' ("Petards— 
or thou must and wilt laugh ") , he began to read 
them unconnected anecdotes, with which the 
little book was filled. He read them a dozen; 
but he aroused little mirth; Sanin alone, out of 
politeness, showed his teeth in a grin, and Herr 
Kliiber himself, after every anecdote, emitted 
a curt, business-like — and, at the same time, 
condescending— laugh. At twelve o'clock, the 
entire party returned to Soden, to the best res- 
tam*ant in the place. 

The question of arranging for dinner arose. 

Herr Kliiber proposed that the dinner should 
take place in an arbour, shut in on all sides— 
"%m Gartensalon/' But at this point Gemma 
suddenly rose in rebellion, and declared that she 
would not dine otherwise than in the open air» 

54 



SPRING FKESHETS 

in the garden, at one of the little tables placed 
in front of the restaurant; that it bored her to be 
all the time with the same set of people, and that 
she wanted to see others. Groups of newly '^ar- 
rived visitors were already seated at several of 
the tables. 

While Herr Kliiber condescendingly submit- 
ted to " the caprice of his betrothed," and went to 
confer with the head-waiter. Gemma stood mo- 
tionless, wiih eyes cast down and lips tightly 
compressed. She was conscious that Sdnin was 
gazing fixedly and interrogatively, as it were, 
at her— and this seemed to enrage her. At last, 
Herr Kliiber returned, announced that dinner 
would be ready in half an hour, and suggested 
that they play at ninepins until that time; add- 
ing that that was very good for the appetite, 
he, he, he! He played ninepins in a masterly 
manner. In throwing the ball he assumed won- 
derfully dashing poses, made his muscles play in 
a foppish way, foppishly flourished and shook 
his leg. In his way, he was an athlete— and 
capitally built. And his hands were so white 
and handsome, and he rubbed them with such a 
very rich, golden-patterned India silk hand- 
kerchief I 

The dinner-hotir arrived— and the whole 
party sat down at a small table. 



M 



SPRING FRESHETS 



XVI 

Who does not know what a Grennan dinner is 
like? Watery soup, with knobby dumplings 
and cinnamon, boiled beef, dry as cork, over- 
grown with white fat, slimy potatoes, puffy 
beets and chewed horseradish, eel that has turned 
blue, capers and vinegar, a roast with preserves, 
and the inevitable Mehlspeise,—aoinetlnng in 
the nature of a pudding, with a sourish red 
. sauce; and on top of all, wine and beer— capital! 
To just that sort of a dinner did the restaurant- 
keeper of Soden treat his patrons. However, 
• the dinner itself passed off successfully. No 
particular animation was visible, it is true; it 
did not make its appearance even wh^i Herr 
Kliiber proposed a toast to "that which we 
love I ^' {Was wir Uebent) Everything was very 
decorous and proper. After dinner, coffee was 
served;— weak, rusty-red regular Grerman coffee. 
Herr Kliiber, like a genuine cavalier, asked 
Gemma's permission to light his cigar. • . • But 
at this point something happened which was 
unforeseen, and really disagreeable— and even 
improper 1 

■ Several officers of the Mayenoe garrison had 
placed themselves at one of the neighbouring 
tables. From their glances and whisperings, it 
was easy to divine that Gemma's beauty had 

4W 



SPRING FRESHETS 

made an impression on them; one of them, who 
had probably been in Frankfurt befoi-e, kept 
staring at her, as at a face well known to him. 
It was obvious that he knew who she was. He 
suddenly rose to his feet, and glass in hand, -^ the 
officers had been drinking heavily, and tiie whole 
table-cloth in front of them was covered with 
bottles,— he stepped up to the table at which sat 
Gemma. He was a Very young, fair-haired 
man, with sufficiently agreeable and even sym*- 
pathetic features ; but the wine he had drunk 
had distorted them; his cheeks were twitching, 
his swollen eyes \^andered and assumed an auda- 
cious expression. At first his comrades tried 
to hold him back, but afterward they let him go 
his way, as thou^ they were curious to see what 
would come of it. 

Reeling slightly on his legs, the officer haltejl 
in front of Gemma, and in a violently shrill 
voice, in which, against his will, conflict with 
himself was expressed, he articulated: '' I drink 
to the health of the most beautiful cofi^ee-bouse 
girl in the whole world**— (he "drained" the 
glass at one swallow)—" and, as my^ reward, I 
take tJiis flower, wrested from her divine littlie 
fingers 1 " He picked up from the table a rose, 
which lay in- front of Gremma's plate. At first 
she was amazed, frightened, and turned terribly 
pale .... then her terror was replaced by in- 
dignation. She suddenly flushed all over, to her 

57 



SPRING FKESHETS 

very hair,— and her eyes, fixed straight on the of* 
fender, both darkened and blazed up simultane* 
ously— became filled with gloom and lighted up 
with the fire of uncontrollable wrath. This gaze 
must have abashed the officer; he muttered some- 
thing unintelligible, bowed— and went back to 
his friends. They greeted him with laughter, 
and a faint clapping of hands. 

Herr Kliiber suddenly rose from his chair, 
and drawing himself up to his full height, and 
putting on his hat, he said, with dignity, but 
not too loudly: " This is unheard of I Unheard- 
of insolence! " {'' Unerhort! Unerhorte Freeh- 
heit/") and immediately calling the waiter to 
him, in a stern voice, he demanded his bill in- 
stantly • • . • and that was not all: he ordered 
the carriage to be harnessed, adding that re- 
spectable people could not come to the house, 
as they were subjected to insults! At these 
words. Gemma, who had continued to sit still in 
her place, without moving,— her bosom heaved 
sharply and high,— Gemma turned her eyes on 
Herr Kliiber • • • and regarded him steadily, 
itnd with the same gaze which she had used for 
the ofiicer. J^mile was simply quivering with 
fury. 

"Rise, mein Fraulein/'— said Herr Kliiber, 
still with the same severity; "it is not proper 
for you to remain here. We will post ourselves 
yonder in the restaurant." 

58 



SPRING FRESHETS 

Gemma rose in silence. He offered her his 
arm in a crook, she gave him hers— and he 
wended his way to the restaurant with a majestic 
stride, which, equally with his bearing, became 
more majestic and arrogant in proportion as he 
got further away from the spot where the dinner 
had taken place. Poor £mile slunk after them. 

But while Herr Kliiber was settling the bill 
with the waiter, to whom, by way of punish- 
ment, he gave not a single kreutzer of tip, Sanin, 
with swift strides, approached the table at which 
the officers sat,— and, addressing Gemma's in- 
sulter (at the moment the latter was allowing 
each of his comrades in turn to smell of her rose) 
—he articulated distinctly, in French:— "What 
you have just done, my dear sir, is unworthy of 
an honourable man, unworthy of the uniform 
you wear,— and I have come to tell you that 
you are an ill-bred bullyl"— The young man 
sprang to his feet, but another officer, an older 
man, restrained him by a motion of his hand, 
made him sit down,— and, turning to Sdnin, 
asked him, also in French:—" Was he a relative, 
a brother, or the betrothed of that young girl? " 

" I am an entire stranger to her,"— exclaimed 
Sanin,—" I am a Russian,— but I cannot look 
on, with indifference, at such a piece of inso- 
lence. However, here is my card, with my ad- 
dress; the officer can look me up." 

As he uttered these words, Sdnin flung on the 
59 



SPRING FRESHETS 

table biis visiting-card, and, at the same time, 
quickly seized Gemma's rose, which one of the 
officers seated at the table had dropped on his 
plate. The yoimg man again tried to spring 
from his chair, but again his comrade held him 
back, saying: "Donhof, be quiet!" C Danhof, 
set still!'*) Then he rose himself,— and, touch- 
ing the visor of his cap with his hand, he said 
to Sdnin, not without a trace of respect in his 
manner and voice, that the next morning one of 
the officers of the regiment woiJd have the hon- 
our to present himself to him at his lodgings. 
Sinin replied by a curt nod— and hastily re- 
joined his friends. 

Here Kl&bee feigned not to notice in the least 
either Sihin's absence, or his explanation with 
the officers; he urged to haste the coachman, who 
xvas harnessing the horses, and flew into a violent 
rage at his slowness. Neither did Grcmma say 
anything to Sinin, she did not even glance at 
Mm; but her lowering brows, her lips, which 
were pale and compressed, her very immobility 
made it plain that her mind was not at ease. 
' £ihilk alone wanted to talk with Sdnin, wanted 
to queisrtion him. He had seen Sinin go up to 
th^ officers, be had seen him give iiiem something 
White,— a scrap of paper, a note, a <!brd. ... 
The poor lad's heart beat viblently, he was ready 
to flihg himself on Benin's neck, ready to weep, 

60 



SPRIBTG. FRESHETS 

or to go on \ht instant with him to pulverise all 
those disgusting officers! But he restrained 
himself, and contented himself with watching 
attentively every movement of his noble IRus-* 
sian friend. 

At last the coachman got the horses put tdi; 
the whole party took their seats in the carriage. 
Emile climbed up after Tartaglia.on the box; 
he felt more at his ease there, and, mbreo^r, 
Kliiber, whom he could not look at with equa-^ 
nimity, would not be before his eyes. 

All the way home, Herr Kliiber hanangued . . j 
and harangued alone; no one, no onfe aosweted 
him, and no dne Hgreed with him.. He laid par-^ 
ticular stress on the fact that they had mad^ a 
mistake not to Obey him when he had prop6se<^ 
to dine in the ^^icloaed arbour. Had that beeii 
done, no unpleasantness would have arisen 1 
Then he pronounced several harsh, and even 
Uberal judgments, to the effect thart the govewh 
tnent upheld the officers in an unpardonable 
manner, did! not look after their discipline, and 
did not sufficiently irespect the civilian element 
of. society— {''da# hurgerUche Element in^ der 
Societatt'^)—«nd^€ii thence, from that cause, 
arose dissatisfaction, from which to revokition 
was not a long stride, ds to which a sad examj^ 
(here he sighed feelingly,, but sternly) -rr-a sad 
example bald hetn f ui^ished by France ! But be 

61 



SPRING FRESHETS 

immediately added that, personaUy, he revered 
the authorities, and never . • . • never I . . . • 
woidd beeome a revolutionist— although he 
could not refrain from expressing his ... . 
disapprobation at the sight of such profligacy! 
Then he added a few more general remarks as to 
morality and immorality, propriety and the 
sense of dignity. 

In the course of all these '"harangues" 
Gemma, who already, in the stroll which had 
preceded the dinner, had seemed to be not en- 
tirely pleased with Herr Kliiber— hence, she had 
held herself somewhat aloof from Sdnin, and 
had seemed to be embarrassed by his presence— 
Grcmma begian, plainly, to feel ashamed of her 
betrothed! Toward the end of the drive she 
positively suffered, and although, as before, she 
did not converse with Sdnin, yet she suddenly 
cast an imploring glance at him. . • • He, on 
his part, felt much more pity for her than in- 
dignation at Herr Kliiber; he even secretly, half 
unconsciously, rejoiced at all that had happened 
in the course of the day, although he might ex- 
pect a challenge to a duel the next morning. 

This painful partie de plaisir came to an end 
at last. As Sinin helped Gemma out of the 
carriage in front of the confectionery shop, he 
placed the rose, which he had recaptured, in 
her hand, without saying a word. She flushed 
all over, pressed his hand, and instantly con- 

62 



SPRING FRESHETS 

oealed the rose. He did not wish to enter the 
house, although the evening was only just be- 
ginning. She herself did not invite him. More* 
over, Pantaleone, who made his appearance an 
the steps, announced that Ftaxt Lenore was 
sleeping. Emile bade Sanin a timid farewdl; 
he seemed to be afraid of him: he had astonished 
him so much. Kliiber drove Sdnin to his lodg- 
ings, and took leave of him conceitedly. The 
regularly constituted German, despite all his 
self<<»nfidence, felt awkward. They all felt 
awkward. 

But, in Sdnin's case, this feeling— the feeling 
of awkwardness— was speedily dissipated. It 
was supplanted by an ill-defined, but agreeable, 
even exalted mood. He paced up and down his 
diamber, would not allow himself to think of 
anything, whistled— and was very well satisfied 
with himself. 

XVII 

"" I SHALL wait for the ofiicer with an explanation 
until ten o'clock in the morning,"— he reflected, 
on the following morning, as he completed his 
toilet, "and then he may hunt me upl" But 
Germans are early risers. Before the clock strack 
nine, a waiter announced to Sdnin that Mr. Sec- 
ond Lieutenant {der Herr Seconde Lieutenant) 
von Ricfater desired to see him. Sanin briskly 

08 



SPRING FRESHETS 

donned his cbat, and said, '' Show him in/' 
Contrary to Sanin^'s expectation, Herr Richter 
proved to be a very young man, ahnost a boy. 
He endeavoured to impart an expression of im- 
portance to his beardless face,— but in this he 
was utterly unsuccessful; he was not able to cchi- 
ceal his agitation— and, as he seated himself on 
a chair, he nearly fell, through having entangled 
himself with his sword. Halting and stammer- 
ing, he informed Sdnin, in villainous French, 
that he had come cm behalf of his friend. Baron 
von Donhof; that he was commissioned to de- 
mand from Herr von Zanin an apology for the 
insulting expressions employed by him on the 
preceding day; and that, in case of a refusal on 
the part of Herr vcm Zanin, Baron von Don- 
hof desired satisfaction. Sdnin replied that be 
had no intention of apologising, and was ready 
to give satisfaction. Then Herr von Richter, 
still stammering, inquired with whom, and at 
what hour, and in what place, he should hold the 
requisite conference? Sanin answered that he 
might come to him a couple of hours hence, and 
that he, S^n, would endeavour to hunt up a 
second before that time. {"Whom the devil 
shall I get for a seccmd? " he said to himself the 
while.) Herr von Richter rose, and began to 
bow himself tiut • . . •' but halted on the thresh- 
old, as though he felt the pangs of oonsd^ifeei^— 
and, turning to Sfinin, he observed that his 

64 



SPRING FRESHETS 

friend. Baron von Donhof, did not conceal 
from himself .... a certain degree • • • • of 
blame on his own side for what had taken place 
on the previous day— and, therefore, would be 
content with a light apology— " des exghizes 
Uchh'es/' To this S^in replied that he had 
no intention of making any sort of apology 
whatsoever, either heavy or light, as he did 
not consider himself in the wrong.— "In 
that case,"— returned Herr von Richter, blush- 
ing still more furiously:— "you must ex- 
change friendly shots— de* goups de pisdolet d 
Vaimaplet" 

" I utterly fail to comprehend that,"— re- 
marked Sanin. " Do you mean that we are to 
fire into the air? " 

" Oh, not that, not so,"— lisped the sub-lieu- 
tenant, definitively overwhelmed with confusion, 
—"but I— I assume that, as the afi^air is be- 
tween two gentlemen of breeding .... I will 
discuss it with your second," . . he interrupted 
himself, and withdrew. 

Sanin dropped on a chair, as soon as the man 
had left the room, and fixed his eyes on the floor. 
— " What 's the meaning of this? How comes 
it that life has suddenly taken such a turn? All 
the past, all the future has suddenly retreated 
into the background, vanished— and nothing re- 
mains, save the fact that I am going to fight in 
Frankfurt with some one about something." He 

66 



SPRING FRESHETS 

recaUed a crazy aunt of his, who had been in the 
habit of dancing and singing: 

''Sub-lieutenant! 
My darling ! 
My little love! 
Dance a while with me, my dear! *' ^ 

And he burst out laughing and sang, like her: 
"Sub-lieutenant I dance a while with me, my 
dearl"— "But I must act, I must not lose 
time 1"— he exclaimed aloud— jumped up, and 
beheld before him Pantaleone, with a note in his 
hand. 

" I knocked several times, but you did not an- 
swer. I thought you were not at home,"— said 
the old man, and handed him the note.—" From 
Signorina Genmia." 

Sanin took the note,— as the saying goes, me- 
chanically,— broke the seal, and read it. Gemma 
wrotie to him that she was very uneasy, because 
of the affair which was known to him, and 
vnshed to see him inmxediately. 

" The signorina is uneasy,"— began Panta- 
leone, who was, evidently, acquainted with the 
contents of the note;— "she ordered me to see 
what you were doing, and bring you to her." 

Sinin cast a glance at the old Italian— and 

1 Uterally, " dear litUc cucumber":-" dear Uttle dove" In Rus- 
tiao the rhyme is characteristic! " Podpordtchik! Moi ogtfrtcbiki 
Moi amdrtchik! Vro^yishi oo moot goUibtchikI*'— TaAVSLAiom. 

66 



SPRING FRESHETS 

became pensive. A sudden idea had flashed 
through his brain. At the first moment, it 
seemed to him strange to the verge of impose 
sibility. . . • 

" Nevertheless . . • . why: not? *'— he asked 
himself. 

" Signor Pantaleonel "— he said aloud. 

The old man started, thrust his chin into his 
neckcloth, and riveted his eyes on Sdnin. 

"You know,"— pursued SAnin,— "what took 
place yesterday? *' 

Fantaleone mowed with his lips, and nodded 
his huge head.—" I do." 

(il^mile had told him all as soon as he re- 
turned.) 

"Ah, you know 1— Well, theh, see here. An 
officer has just left me. That bully challenges 
me to a duel.— I have accepted his challenge.— 
But I have no second. Will you be my second? " 

Fantaleone shuddered, and elevated his eye- 
brows to such a degree that they disappeared 
beneath his overhanging hair. 

"Must you inevitably fight?*'— he said at 
last, in Italian. Up to that moment he had been 
expressing himself in French. 

"Inevitably. I cannot act otherwise— it 
would mean disgracing myself forever.*' 

"H'm.- If I do not consent to act as your 
second— then you will hunt up some one else? " 

"Yes ... . without fail." 

67 



SPRING FRESHETS 

Pantaleone ca^ down his eyes.— "But permit 
me to ask you, Signor de Zamiini, will not your 
duel cast a sort of unfavourable shadow upon the 
reputation of a certain person? " 

" I think not; but, at any rate,— there is no- 
thing else to be done." 

"H'm!"— Pantaleone retired altogether into 
hisi neckcloth.— "Well, and that ferrofluchto 
Kluberio— what about him?"— he suddaily ex- 
claimed, and threw up his face. 

"About him? Nothing." 

"^Cfe^/'^*— Pantaleone shrugged his shoulders 
scornfully.—" In any case, I must thank you," 
—he said, at last, in an uncertain voice,—" for 
having recognised me, in my present humble sta- 
tion, for a well-bred laBXi—un galanlf uomot— 
By so doing, you have proved that you yourself 
are a galant* uomo. But I must think over your 
proposal." 

" There is no time for that, my dear Signor 
Ci . . . . Cippa . • • •" 

"—tola," prompted the old man.—" I ask one 
hour in all for reflection.— The daughter of my 
benefactors is implicated in the matter. • • • 
And, therefore, I must— I am bound to reflect 1 1 
. . . An hour— three quarters of an hour hence, 
you shall know my decision." 

"Good I IwOlwait." 

^ An iintnuislatable ItalUn expression, corresponding to 
" WcU ! ••-'■Airnioi'i Note. 

68 



SPRING FRESHETS 

" And now ... what answer am I to give to 
Signorina Gemma?'' 

Sdnin took a sheet of paper, wrote on it: " Be 
not anxious, my dear friend; I will go to you 
three hom^s hence,— and eveiythihg will be ex- 
plained. I thank you heartily for your sym- 
pathy,*^— and handed the sheet of paper to Pan- 
taleone. 

The latter carefully placed it in his side-pocket 
—and repeating once more: " An hour hence! " 
he started toward the door; but turned back ab- 
ruptly, ran up to Sdnin, seized his hand,— and 
pressing it to his shirt-frill, and raising his eyes 
heavenward, exclaimed: "Noble youth I Great 
heart I {Nobile giovanotto! Gran cuoret) — 
permit a wtok old man (a un vecchiottot) to 
shake your valorous right hand I (2a vostra oo- 
loro$a detitraiy* Then he sprang back a little 
way, flourished both hands in the air, and with- 
drew. 

Sdnin gazed after him . . • took up a news- 
paper, and began to read. But in vain did his 
eyes run over the lines: he understood nothing. 

XVIII 

An hour later, the waiter again entered Sdnin's 
room, and handed him an old, soiled visiting- 
card, on which stood the following words: " Pan- 
taleone Cippatola of Varese, Singer to the Court 



SPRING FRESHETS 

{Cantante fii Camera) of his Royal Highness the 
Duke of Modena/'— and following >the waiter, 
Pantakone presented himself in person. He 
had re-dressed himself from i^ead to foot He 
wore a rusty black dress-suit, and a white pique 
waistcoat, over which, in curves, meandered a 
pinchbeck chain; a heavy camehan seal hung 
low on the tight black trousers with flaps. In 
his right hand he held a black hat of rabbit's 
down; in the left, two thick chamois-leather 
gloves; he had tied his neckcloth still more 
broadly and higher up than usual— and in 
the ruffle of his shirt he had stuck a pin with a 
stcHie called a "cat's-eye" {ceil de chat). On 
the forefinger of his right hand shone a ring, 
orepresenting two clasped hands with a. flaming 
heart between them. The old man's whole per- 
son emitted an odour of clothing long packed 
away,— an odour of camphor and musk; the 
anxious pomposity of his carriage would have 
struck the. most indifi'erent spectator* SiUiin 
rose to greet him. 

"I am your second,"— said Pantaleone, ia 
French— bowing with a forward inclination of 
his whole body, and ,hi& toes pointed outward, 
as dancers point them. " I have come for in- 
structions. Do you wish to fight without quar- 
ter?" 

" But why should it be without quarter, my 
dear Mr. Cippatola? Not for anything in the 

7P 



SPRING FRESHETS 

world win I retract my words of yesterday— 
but I am not bloodthirstyl .... But, see here, 
wait a bit, my adversary's second will be here di- 
rectly. I will retire into the neighbouring room, 
and you can come to an agreement with him. 
Believe me, I shall never forget your service, 
and I thank you with all my soul." 

" Honour before everything! "—replied Pan- 
talecme, and dropped into a diair, without wait- 
ing for Sdnin to invite him to be seated. '' If 
that ferrofluchto spiccebtibbio/*'^he remarked, 
exchanging the French tongue for Italian,—'' if 
that haberdasher Kluberio was unable to under- 
stand his plain obligation, or was afraid,— so 
much the worse for himl • . . He 's a farthing 
soul— and bastal . • • • But as for the condi- 
tions of the duel— I am your second, and your 
interests are sacred for mel ! • • . When I lived 
in Padua» a regiment of white dragoons was sta- 
tioned there— and I was very intimately ac- 
quainted with many of the officers! ... I am 
familiar with their whole code. Well, and I fre- 
quently conversed with your Principe Tarbusski 
on those questions. . • Is that second coming 
soon?" 

'' I am expecting him every moment— and 
yonder he comes,"— added Sinin, glancing into 
the street. 

Fantalecme rose, looked at his watch, adjusted 
his top-knot, and hastily stuffed into his shoe a 

71 



SPRING FRESHETS 

tape which was dangling from beneath his trou- 
seivleg. The young sub-lieutenant entered, ab 
flushed and embarrassed as evefr. 

Sdnin introduced the seconds to each other: 
■*M-r Richter, sous-lieutenant I— M*r Zippatola, 
artistel"— The lieutenant was somewhat sur- 
prised at the aspect of the old man; • • • Oh, 
what would he have said, had any one whispered 
to him, at that moment, that the *' artist " intro- 
duced to him also occupied himself with the art 
of cookery! But Pantaleone assumed an air, as 
though taking part in the arrangement of duels 
were the most commonplace sort of event for 
him: probably the memories of hi3 theatrical 
career helped ' him at that moment—and he 
played the part of a second, precisely like a role. 
Both he and the lieutenant remained sflent for a 
while. 

"Well? Let us proceed to business!"— Pan- 
taleone was the first to speak, as he toyed with 
his camelian seaL 

" Let us proceed,^*— replied the lieutenant,— 
"but . . . tiie pri^sence of one of the comba- 
tants . . . ." 

" I will leave you at once, gentlemen,"— ex- 
claimed Sdnin, and, bowing, he went into the 
bedroom, and shut the door after Idm* 

He flung himself on the bed— and set to think- 
ing about Gremma ; . . but the conversation of 
the seconds reached his ear through the closed 

72 



SPRING FRESHETS 

door. It was proceeding in the French lan- 
guage; both were murdering it mercilessly, eadi 
in his own way. Pantaleone again alluded to 
the dragoons at Padua, to Principe Tarbusski, 
—the lieutenant mentioned '^ exghizes Uchtres*^ 
and '^ goupi d Vcdmaple/* But the old man 
would not hear to any exghizeal To the horror 
of Sanin, he suddenly began to talk to his inter- 
locutor about a certain young, innocent girl, 
whose little finger was worth more than all the 
officecrs in the world .... {^^oune zeune danU" 
gella innoucenta, qu*a sola dams sown pSti doa 
vale piu que toutt le zouffissU del mondot") 
and several times repeated with fervour: " It ib 
a shamel it is a shame! {E ouna onta, owrta 
onlal) ** The lieutenant did not reply to him at 
first; but, after a while, a wrathful tremor be- 
came audibk in the young man's voice, and hie 
remarked that he had not come for the purpose 
of listening to moral sentiments. ... . > 

" At your age it is always useful to listen to 
righteous remarks!"— cried Pantaleone. 

The altercation between the two seconds grew 
stormy at several points; it lasted for more than 
an hour, and wound up, at last, with the follow- 
ing conditions: ''Baron von Donhof and Mr. 
da Sanin were to fight a duel^ with pistols, on 
the following day, at ten o'clock in the morn- 
ing, in the small forest near Hanau, at a distancae 
of twenty paces; each was to have tthe right to 

:78 



SPRING FRESHETS 

fire two shots, on a signal given by tbe seconds. 
The pistols to be witiiout hair-trigger, and not 
rifled." Herr von Riditer withdrew, and Pan- 
tileone triumphantly threw open the bedrooili 
door, and communicating the result of their 
conference, again exclaimed: ''Bravo Bussel 
Bravo giovanottol Thou wDt be the victor! " 

A few minutes later, they both set out for tiie 
Roselli confectionery shop. Sdnin exacted from 
Fantaleone a preliminary promise to preserve 
the strictest secrecy regarding the duel. In re- 
ply, the old man merely pointed his finger up- 
ward, and narrowing his eyes, he whispered 
twice in succession: ''Segredezzal (Secrecy I)" 
He had grown visibly yoimger, and even 
stepped out more freely. All these unusual, 
though agreeable events had vividly carried him 
back to the epoch when he himself had accepted 
and given challenges— on the stage, it is true. 
Barytones, as all the world is aware, strut a great 
deal in their roles. 

XIX 

£mile ran out to meet Sdnin— he had been 
watching for his arrival for more than an hour 
*— and hastily whispered in his ear that his mo- 
ther knew nothing about the unpleasantness of 
the day before, and it was not proper even to 
give her a hint of it, and that he would be sent 

74 



SPRING FEESHETS 

agadn to the shopl 1 . • • • but that he would 
not go, but would hide somewhere or other I-* 
Having imparted all this, in the course of a few 
seconds, he suddenly fell upon Sdnin's neck, 
kissed him impulsively, and ran off down .tl^e* 
street. In the confectionery shop Gemma 
greeted Sinin;^ she tried to say something*--and 
could not. Her lips quivered slightly, and ber. 
eyes were narrowed and glanced off in all dir^- 
tions. He hastened to soothe her with the aasurr^ 
ance that the whole affair had ended . . . in 
mere nonsense. 

" Has no one been to see you to-day? '"—she 
asked. 

" One person has been to see me— we had an 
explanation— and we ... we arrived at the 
most satisfactory result." 

Grenuna went back again behind the counter. 

" She did not believe me,"— he thought .' . . . 
but he went his way into the next room, and 
there found Frau Lenore. 

Her headache had passed off, but she was still 
in a melaaicholy mood. She smiled cordially at 
him, but, at the same time, she warned him 
that he would find it tiresome with her that 
day, as she was not in a condition to entertain 
him. 

"What ails you, Frau Lenore? Can it be 
that you have been weeping? " 

Ssssssssh . . . ." she whispered, indicating 
75 



« ( 



99 



SPRING FRESHETS 

with a movement of her head the room where her 
daughter was. ''Don't say that .... aloud. 
" But what have you been crying about? " 
" Akh, Monsieur Sdnin, I don't know myself 
vihBt it Was about!" 

" Has any one hurt your feelings? ** 
"Oh, nol . . . I felt greatly bored all of a 
sudden. I remembered Giovan* Battista .... 
his youth. . • . Then that all went away again 
speiedily. I am getting old, my friend. I seem' 
to be just the same as ever myself .... bttt 
old age— there it is . . . there it isl"— Tears 
made their appearance in Frau Lenore's eyes.— 
** I see that you look at me in amazement. . • » 
But you will grow old also, my friend, and you 
will find out how bitter it isl " 

Sdnin set to work to comfort her, reminding her 
of her children, with whom her own youth had 
come to life again; he even attempted to laugh at 
her, asserting that she was fishing for compli- 
ments .... but she, not in jest, requested him 
"to stop," and then, for the first time, he Vras 
able to convince himself that that sort of sadness, 
the sadness of conscious old age, cannot in any 
way be cheered or dissipated; otie must wait for 
it to disperse of itself. He proposed to her a 
game of tresette— and he could not have hit upon 
anything better. She immediately accepted— 
and seemed to brighten up. 
Sinin played with her until dinner, and after 
76 



SPRING FRESHETS 

dinner. Pantaleone ako took an interest in the 
game. Never had his crest of hair fallen so low 
upon hia brow, never had his chin sunk so deeply 
.into his neckcloth 1 His every movement exhaled 
such concentrated dignity that the sight of him 
involuntarily prompted the thought: What secret 
is that man keeping with so much firmness? 

But—segredezzal segredezzal 

Throughout the whole course of that day> he 
endeavoured, in every possible way, to show Sa- 
nin the most profound respect; at, table, passing 
over the ladies, solemnly and with decision, he 
offered the viands first to Sinin ; during the game 
at cards, he surrendered his draw to him, did not 
venture to beat him; he declared, without any 
rhyme or reason, that Russians are the most mag- 
nanimous, brave, and resolute nation in the 
world I 

" Akh, thou old play-actor I "—thought Sdnin 
to himself. 

And he was not so much surprised at Signora 
Roselli's unexpected frame of mind, as at the 
way in which her daughter treated him. It was 
not that she shunned him .... on the contrary, 
she kept constantly seating herself at a short dis- 
tance from him, listening to his remarks, gaaing 
at him; but she positively declined to enter into 
conversation with him, and just as soon^as he ad- 
dressed her, she rose quietly from her seat, and 
quietly withdrew for a few moments. Then she 

37 



SPRING FRESHETS 

made! her appearance again, and again seated her^ 
sdf somewhere in a comer— and sat there motion- 
less, as though meditating and bewildered^bewil* 
dered, most of all. Frau Lenore herself noticed^ 
at last, the miwontedness of her behaviour, and 
asked her a couple of times what was the matter 
with her. 

" Nothing,"— replied Grcmma; " thou knowest 
that I am like tliis »t tunes." 

" That is true,"— assented her mother. 

Thus passed the whole of that long day, in a 
way that was neither animated nor languid,— nei* 
ther cheerful nor tiresome. Had Gemma borne 
herself otherwise, Sdnin might— who knows ?--r 
have been unable to resist the temptation to strut 
a little, or might have yidded to the feeling of 
sadness in face of a parting which might prove 
eternal. • . . But, as he never succeeded, even 
once, in speaking to Gemma, he was obliged 
to content himself with striking minor chcn'ds on 
the piano for a quarter of an hour before even- 
ing coffee was served. 

!^mile came home late, and with the object of 
avoiding interrogations on the subject of Herr 
Kliiber, he retired very soon. Sdnin's turn to 
withdraw arrived. 

He began to take leave of Gemma. For some 
reason, L6nsky's parting from Olga, in " Onyi- 
gin,"* recurred to his mind. He pressed her 

*Pdriikin*8 poem ^E^gtny Ony^n.**— TkAirgLAioK. 

78 



SPRING FKESHJETS 

haiid closely— and tried to look into her face- 
but she turned away slightly and freed her 
fingers. 

XX 

The sky was studded with stars when he emerged 
on the steps. And how many of those stars were 
sown there, big, little, yellow, red, blue, white 1 
They were all fairly glowing and swarming, vy- 
ing with one another in darting their rays. There 
was no moon in the sky, but even without it every 
object was distinctly visible in the half-light, 
shadeless gloom. Sdnin walked down the street, 
to the very end. . . He did not wish to return 
home at once; he felt the need of roaming about 
in the fresh air. He turned back— and before 
he had got opposite the house in which the Roselli 
confectionery shop was located, one of the win- 
dows which gave on the street suddenly rattled 
and opened— in its black square (there was no 
light in the room) a woman's form appeared— 
and he heard himself called by name. 

" Monsieur Dimftril" 

He instantly flew to the window. . . . 
Genmial 

She leaned her elbows on the sill, and bent 
forward. 

"Monsieur Dimftri,'*— she began, in a cau- 
tious voice,—" all day long, to-day, I have 

79 



SPRING FRESHETS 

wanted to give you a certain thing • • • • but 
could not make up my mind; and seeing you un- 
expectedly again, I thought, evidently, so it is 
decreed by fate. . . .** 

Gemma involuntarily paused on that word. 
She could not go on; something remarkable oc- 
curred at that moment. 

Suddenly, in the midst of the deep silence, 
athwart the perfectly cloudless sky swept such 
a gust of wind, that the very earth seemed to 
tremble under foot, the delicate starlight quivered 
and rippled, the very air rolled up into a ball. 
The whirlwind, not cold, but warm, even sultry, 
beat upon the trees, upon the roof of the house, 
on its walls, on the street; it instantly tore the 
hat from Sdnin's head, ruffled and whirled about 
(remma's black curls. Sdnin's head was on a 
level with the window-sill ; he involuntarily leaned 
against it— and Gemma, with both hands, 
clutched at his shoulder, and fell with her breast 
against his head. The uproar, ringing and rat- 
tling, lasted for about a minute. . . . Like a 
flock of huge birds, the joyously swirling whirl- 
wind dashed past. . . Profound silence reigned 
once more. 

Sdnin raised himself, and beheld above him 
such a wondrous, frightened, excited face, such 
huge, magnificent eyes— he beheld such a beauty, 
that his heart sank within him, he pressed his lips 
to a slender lock of hair, which fell over his 

80 



SPRING FRESHETS 

breast— and could say nothing except: "Ol^, 
Gemmal" 

"What was that? Lightning? '*— she asked» 
rolling her eyes widely around, and not removing 
her bare arms from his shoulders. 

" Gemma I *'— repeated Sdnin. 

She sighed, cast a glance behind her into the 
room,— and with a swift movement drawing 
from her bodice an already withered rose, she 
tossed it to Sdnin. 

" I wanted to give you this flower. . . ." 

He recognised the rose which he had captured 
the day before. • • • 

But the little window had already slammed to» 
and behind the dark panes nothing was visible, 
there was no gleam of white. • • • 

Sdnin reached home without a hat. • • • He 
did not even notice that he had lost it. 

XXI 



He fell asleep just before dawn. And it is not 
surprising! Under the shock of that sudden 
summer whirlwind, he had instantaneously felt- 
not precisely that Gemma was a beauty, not pre* 
dsely that he liked her— he had known that be* 
fore .... but that he had all but fallen in love 
with her I Love had descended upon him as in- 
stantaneously as ^at whirlwind. And there was 
that stupid duell^'lMelancholy forebodings began 

«1 



SPRING FRESHETS 

to torture him. Well, assuming that he were not 
killed. . . What could come of his love for that 
young girl, for the betrothed bride of another 
man? Assuming, even, that that "other" was 
not dangerous to him, that Gremma herself would 
fall in love with him or had already fallen in love 
with him. . . . What of that? What then? 
Such a beautyl • • • • 

He paced the room, seated himself at the table, 
took a sheet of paper, scribbled a few lines on it 
—and immediately crossed them out. . . . He 
recalled to mind Grcmma's wonderful figure, in 
the dark window, beneath the rays of the stars, 
all fluttering in the warm gale; he recalled her 
marble arms, like the arms of Olympian god- 
desses; he felt their living burden upon his shoul-* 
ders. • . . Then he picked up the rose which had 
been tossed to him— it seemed to him that its half-: 
withered petals exhaled another and still more 
delicate perfume than the ordinary fragrance of 
roses. . . • 

"And suppose he were to be killed or 
maimed? " 

He did not lie down on his bed, but fell asleep, 
fully dressed, on the couch. Some one tapped 
him on the shoulder. ... 

He opened his eyes, and beheld Fantaleone. 

" He sleeps like Alexander of Macedon on the 
eve of the battle of Babylon 1 "—exclaimed the 
old man. 

82 



SPRING FRESHETS 

" Why, what o'clock is it? "—asked Sinin. 

"A quarter to seven; it is a two hours' drive 
to Hanau, and we should be the first on the 
ground. Russians always forestall the enemy! 
I have hired the best carriage in Frankfurt I " 

Sinin began to wash himself.— ''And where 
are the pistols? " 

" That ferrofluchto Tedesco will bring the pis- 
tols. And he will bring a doctor also." 

Pantaleone had, evidently, sununoned up his 
courage, as on the preceding day; but when he 
seated himself in the carriage with Sanin, when 
the coachman cracked his whip, and the horses 
set out at a gallop,— a sudden change came over 
the former singer and friend of the Padua dra- 
goons. He grew confused, and even turned cow- 
ard. Something seemed to fall to ruin within 
him, like a badly constructed wall. 

" But what is this we are doing, my Gkd, San- 
tissima Madonna! "—he exclaimed, in an unex- 
pectedly squeaking voice, and clutched his hair. 
" What am I about, old fool, madman, frenetico 
that I am!" 

Sanin was amazed, and burst out laughing; 
and lightly embracing Pantaleone's waist, he re- 
minded him of the French maxim: '' Le vin est 
tirS—il faut le boire/' 

" Yes, yes,"— replied the old man;—" you and 
I are to drain that cup together,— and, neverthe- 
less, I am a lunatic 1 I 'm a lunatic ! Everything 

83 



SPRING FRESHETS 

was so quiet, so nice .... and all of a suddei 
ta-ta-ta, tra-ta-ta! " 

"Just like the tutH in an orchestra/'— p 
marked Sdnin, with a forced smile. " But you a: 
not to blame/' 

" I know that I am not! I should think no 
Nevertheless, this is ... • such an unbridled pn 
ceeding. Diavolo! DiaroZo/'^— repeated Pai 
taleone, shaking his crest of hair and heaving 
sigh. 

But still the carriage rolled on and on. 

It was a delightful morning. The streets c 

Frankfurt, which were barely beginning to gro 

animated, seemed so clean and comfortable; tl: 

windows of the houses shone with glinting n 

I flections, like tinsel; and as soon as the carria^ 

I had emerged beyond the city barrier the lou 

I trills of the larks fairly showered down from o 

high, from the sky which was not yet brigh 

All at once, at a turn in the highway, from b 

hind a lofty poplar-tree a familiar form mac 

its appearance, advanced a few paces, and can 

to a halt. Sdnin scrutinised it. . . . Grei 

heavens! £mile! 

"Does he know anything about this?"—! 
asked Pantaleone. 

" I have already told you that I am a lunatic, 
—roared the poor Italian, in despair, almost i 
a yell.—" That unfortunate lad gave me no peac 
all night— and at last, this morning, I reveale 
everything to him! " 

84 




SPRING FRESHETS 

" There 's segredezza for you! " thought Sanin. 

The carriage came even with Emile. Sanin or- 
dered the coachman to stop the horses, and called 
the '' unf ortimate lad" to him. £mile ap- 
proached with irresolute steps, pale— pale as on 
the day of his fit. He could hardly keep his feet. 

"What are you doing here?"— Sdnin asked 
him, sternly;—" why are you not at home? " 

" Permit me ... . permit me to go with you," 
—faltered Emile, in a trembling voice, as he 
clasped his hands. His teeth chattered, as in a 
fever. " I will not get in your way— only take 
me!" 

" If you feel the smallest iota of attachment 
for me,"— said Sanin,— "you will instantly re- 
turn home, or to Herr Kliiber's shop, and you 
will not say a single word to any one, and you will 
await my return! " 

"Your return,"— groaned Emile— and his 
voice^ jangled and broke. " But if you ....". 

"Emile!"— Sanin interrupted him— and in- 
dicated the coachman with his eyes,—" come to 
your senses! £mile, please go home! Listen to 
me, my friend! You assert that you love me. 
Well, then I entreat you." 

He offered him his hand. £mile swayed for- 
ward, gulped down a sob, pressed it to his lips— 
and springing out of the road, ran back to Frank- 
furt, across the fields. 

" That 's a noble heart also,"— muttered Pan- 
taleone; but Sdnin glared grimly at him. • . • 



SPRING FRESHETS 

The old man cuddled up in a comer of the car- 
riage. He recognised his fault; but, in addi- 
tion to that, with every passing moment he grew 
more and more amazed. Could it be that he had 
really constituted himself a second, and that he 
had got horses, and made all the arrangements, 
and had quitted his peaceful habitation at six 
o'clock in the morning? Moreover, his legs had 
begun to ache and throb. 

Sanin considered it necessary to restore his 
courage— and hit the nail on the head, found the 
proper remark. 

" What has become of your former spirit, re- 
spected Signor Cippatola? Where is il antico 
valor?'' 

Signor Cippatola straightened himself up, 
and frowned. 

''II antico Vjolorf—he proclaimed, in a bass 
voice. ''Non i ancora spento— (It is not yet all 
exhausted) —il antico valor t f*' 

He assumed an air of dignity, began to talk 

about his career, about the opera, about the great 

tenor Garcia— and arrived at Hanau a valiant 

iman. When you come to think of it, there is 

I nothing in the world more potent— and more 

' impotent— than words! 



86 



SPRING FRESHETS 



XXII 

The little wood in which the conflict was to take 
place was situated a quarter of a mile from 
Hanau. Sinin and Pantakone were the first to 
arrive, as the latter had predicted; they ordered 
the carriage to wait at the edge of the forest, and 
plunged into the shadow of the tolerably thick 
and dense trees. They were obliged to wait about 
an hour. 

But the waiting did not seem particularly op- 
pressive to Sdnin; he walked to and fro along the 
path, lent an ear to the singing of the birds, 
watched the dragon-flies flitting past, and, like 
the majority of Russians under such circum- 
stances, tried not to think. Once, only, did pen-\ 
siveness descend upon him. He chanced upon 
a young linden-tree, broken off", in all probabil- 
ity, by the squall of the preceding day. It was 
completely dead .... all the leaves on it were 
dead. ''What is this? An omen?" flashed 
through his mind. But he immediately began 
to whistle, jimiped over that linden-tree, and 
strode along the path. Pantaleone growled, 
cursed the Germans, grunted, scratched now his 
back, now his knees. He even yawned with 
emotion, which imparted a very droll expression 
to his tiny, puckered face. Sdnin almost roared 
with laughter as he looked at him. 



SPRING FRESHETS 

At last the rumble of wheels on the smooth 
road became audible.—" *T is they! "—said Pan- 
taleone, growing alert, and drew himself up, 
not without a momentary, nervous shudder, 
which, however, he hastened to mask with the ex- 
clamation: "br-r-r-r!" and the remark that the 
morning was decidedly chilly. An abundance 
of dew flooded the grass and the foliage, but the 
sultry heat had already made its way even into 
the forest. 

Both officers speedily made their appearance 
beneath its arches; they were accompanied by a 
short, plump man with a phlegmatic, almost 
sleepy face— the military doctor. He carried in 
one hand an earthen vessel of water— on the 
chance of its being required; a bag, with sur- 
gical instruments and bandages, dangled over 
his left shoulder. It was evident that he had 
grown used, to an extreme degree, to such excur- 
sions; they constituted one of his sources of rev- 
enue; every duel brought him in eight ducats 
—four from each of the belligerent parties. 
Herr von Richter carried a case with pistols; 
Herr von Donhof was twirling in his hand— 
probably for the " chic " of it— a small riding- 
whip. 

" Pantaleone I "—whispered Sanin to the old 
man,— "if .... if I am killed— anything may 
happen— get a paper out of my side-pocket, with 
the flower that is wrapped in it,— and give the 

88 



SPRING FRESHETS 

paper to Signorina (remma. Do you hear? Do 
you promise? " 

The old man cast a dejected glance at him— 
and nodded his head affirmatively. . • . But 
God knows whether he understood what Sdnin 
asked him. 

The antagonists and seconds exchanged bows, 
as is customary; the doctor, alone, did not move 
80 much as an eyebrow— and seated himself, 
with a yawn, on the grass, as much as to say: 
" I don't feel in. the mood for displaying chival- 
rous politeness." Herr von Richter proposed 
to Signor "Tshibadola" that he should select 
the place; Signor "Tshibadola" replied, wag- 
ging his tongue feebly (the wall inside him 
had crumbled down. again), something to this 
effect: "Do you act, my dear sir, and I will 
watch. . . ." 

And Herr von Richter began to act. He 
searched out, there in the little wood, a very nice 
little glade, all dotted with flowers ; he paced off 
the distance, marked the two extreme limits with 
hastily sharpened little sticks, took the pistols out 
of the case, and squatting down on his heels, he 
rammed in the bullets. In a word, he toiled and 
laboured with all his might, incessantly mopping 
his perspiring face with a white handkerdiief. 
Pantaleone, who accompanied him, more resem- 
bled a frozen man. While all these preparations 
were in progress, the two antagonists stood aloof, 

89 



SPRING FRESHETS 

reminding one of two chastised school-boys who 
are pouting at their tutors. 

The decisive moment arrived. . . . 

Each took his pistol. • • • 

But at this point Herr von Richter remarked 
to Pantaleone, that, according to the rules of du- 
elling, it was his place, as the elder of the seconds, 
before pronouncing the fatal: "One! two! three!" 
to address to the combatants a final counsel and 
proposition that they become reconciled ; that, al- 
though that proposition never had any result, and 
was, in general, nothing but an empty formality, 
still, by complying with that formality, Signor 
Cippatola would remove from his own shoulders 
a certain amount of responsibility; that, to tell 
the truth, such an allocution constituted a direct 
obligation of the so-called "impartial witness" 
{unpartheiischer Zeuge)— hut , as they had no 
such witness, he, Herr von Richter, gladly re- 
signed that privilege to his respected colleague. 
Pantaleone, who had already managed to hide 
himself behind a bush, so that he might not see 
the oif ending officer at all, did not, at first, un- 
derstand a word of Herr von Richter's speech, 
—the more so, as it was uttered through the 
nose; but he suddenly gave a start, stepped 
briskly forward, and beating his breast convul- 
sively with his hands, he roared out, with a hoarse 
voice, in his mixed dialect : '*^-4 ZaZaZa .... Che 
bestiaUta! Deux zeun'ommes comme pa qtU ri 

90 



SPRING FRESHETS 

hattono—perchS? Che diavolof Andate a 
casat'' 

''I do not agree to a reconciliation/'— said 
Sdnin, hastily. 

" Neither do I agree,"— repeated his adversary 
after him. 

"Well, then, shout: *One, two, threel'" said 
Herr von Richter, turning to the disconcerted 
Pantaleone. 

The latter immediately dived into the bush 
again— and thence shouted out, all curled up, and 
with his eyes tightly closed, and his head turned 
away, but at the top of his lungs: '' Una .... 
due . . . . e tre! '' 

Sdnin shot first— and missed. His bullet rat- 
tled against a tree. Baron Donhof fired imme- 
diately after him— intentionally to one side, and 
in the air. 

A strained silence ensued. . . . No one stirred 
from his place. Pantaleone uttered a faint ex- 
clamation. 

" Do you wish to continue? "—said Donhof. 

"Why did you fire into the air?"— asked 
Sdnin. 

"That is no business of yours." 

" Are you going to fire into the air a second 
time? "—asked Sanin again. 

" Perhaps so; I don't know." 

" Permit me, permit me, gentlemen . . . ." 
began von Richter;—" the duellists have no right 

91 



SPRING FRESHETS 

to talk to each other. That is entirely out of 
order." 

"I renounce my shot/'— said Sdnin, flinging 
his pistol on the ground. 

" And I, also, have no intention of continuing 
the duel,"— exclaimed Donhof, also flinging 
away his pistol. " Yes, and more than that, I 
am now ready to admit that I was not in the right 
—day before yesterday." 

He fidgeted about where he stood, and put out 
his hand, in an undecided way. 

Sanin swiftly approached him,— and shook it. 
The two young men looked at each other smil- 
ingly,— and the faces of both flushed crimson. 

'' Bravil bravi! ^'—suddenly roared Pantaleone, 
like a madman— and, clapping his hands, he 
rushed head over heels out of the bush; and the 
doctor, who had seated himself on one side, upon 
a felled tree, immediately rose, poured the water 
out of the jug— and walked off, lazily swasring 
his hips, to the edge of the forest. 

"' Honour is satisfied— and the duel is at an 
end!"— proclaimed Herr von Richter. 

'^ Ftioril'^— again shouted Pantaleone, from 
force of ancient habit. 

After having exchanged salutes with the ofiicers, 
and taken his seat once more in the carriage, 
Sanin, truth to tell, felt in all his being, if not 
satisfaction, at least a certain lightness, as after 

92 



SPRING FRESHETS 

an operation has been undergone; but another 
feeling, akin to shame, was beginning to stir 
within him. . . . The duel in which he had just 
taken part appeared to him a falsehood, a pre- 
viously agreed-upon, official, commonplace stu- 
dent's jest. He recalled the phlegmatic doctor, 
he recalled how he had smiled— that is to say, had 
wrinkled up his nose— when he beheld him emerge 
from the wood almost arm-in-arm with Baron 
Donhof. And then, when Pantaleone had paid 
over to that same doctor the four ducats which 
were his due— ekhl something waa wrong 1 

Yes, Sdnin was somewhat conscience-stricken 
and mortified .... although, on the other 
hand, what else was there for him to do? He 
could not have left unchastised the insolence of 
the young officer, he could not have imitated Herr 
Kliiber? He had stood up for Gemma, he had 
defended her. . . . That was so; but, neverthe- 
less, his soul ached, and he was conscience- 
stricken, and even mortified. 

On the other hand, Pantaleone— simply tri- 
umphed! Pride had suddenly taken possession 
of him. A victorious general, returning from 
the field of battle won by him, could not have 
gazed about him with greater self-satisfaction. 
Sanin's behaviour during the duel had filled him 
with rapture. He lauded him for a hero— and 
would not listen to his exhortations and even en- 
treaties. He compared him to a monument of 

98 



SPRING FRESHETS 

marble, or even of bronze— to the statue of the 
Commander in "Don Giovanni 1" As for him- 
self, he admitted that he had felt some consterna- 
tion;— "but I 'm an artist, you see/'— he re- 
marked,—" I have a nervous nature, but you are 
a son of the snows and granite cliiFs/' 

Sdnin positively did not know how to put a 
stopper on the artist, who had mounted his high 
horse. 

Almost at the identical point on the road where 
they had found Emile a couple of hours before, 
he again sprang out from behind a tree, and 
with a jojrful cry on his lips, waving his cap over 
his head, and skipping and leaping, he rushed 
straight at the carriage, came near falling under 
the wheels, and without waiting for the horses to 
come to a halt, clambered over the closed door 
and fairly feasted his eyes on Sanin. 

"You are alive, you are not wounded!"— he 
kept repeating. " Forgive me, I did not obey 
you, I did not return to Frankfurt. ... I could 
notl I waited for you here. . . . Tell me how 
it went oif— you .... did you kill him?" 

With difficulty Sdnin quieted Emile, and made 
him seat himself. 

With much verbosity, with evident satisfac- 
tion, Pantaleone communicated to him all the 
details of the duel, and, of course, did not fail to 
mention the monument of bronze, the statue of 

04 



SPRING FRESHETS 

the Commander! He even rose from his seat, and 
straddling his legs apart to preserve his equili- 
brium, folding his arms on his chest, and casting 
glances of scorn over his shoulder— he presented 
a visible image of Commander Sdnin 1 !^mile lis- 
tened with reverence, now and then interrupting 
the narration by an exclamation, or hastily rising 
half-way, and as hastily kissing his heroic friend. 

The carriage-wheels rattled on the pavements 
of Frankfurt— and halted, at last, in front of the 
hotel in whidi Sdnin dwelt. 

Escorted by his two fellow-travellers, he was 
mounting the stairs to the second story, when, 
suddenly, from a dark, narrow corridor, a woman 
emerged with hasty steps; her face was covered 
with a veil; she halted in front of Sanin, reeled 
slightly, gave a palpitating sigh, and immediately 
ran down-stairs to the street— and vanished, to 
the great amazement of the waiter, who an- 
nounced that ''that lady had been awaiting the 
retmti of Monsieur the Foreigner for more than 
an hour past." Momentary as was her appear- 
ance, Sdnin succeeded in recognising her as 
Gemma. He recognised her eyes, beneath the 
thick silk veil, light brown in hue. 

"Did Fraulein Gemma know . . ." he said 
slowly, in a voice of displeasiu*e, addressing him- 
self in German to l&mile and Pantaleone, who 
were following on his heels. 

Emile flushed scarlet and grew confused. 
95 



SPRING FRESHETS 



c< ' 



I was forced to tell her everjrthing,"— he 
stammered,— " she guessed it— and I could not 
possibly. • . . But that is of no consequence now, 
you see,"— he caught himself up with vivacity,— 
"' everything turned out so well, and she has seen 
you safe and uninjiu^ed! " 

Sdnin tiumed away. 

" What a party of chatterers you are! '* he said 
with vexation, entering his own room, and seat- 
ing himself on a chair. 

"Don*t be angry, please,'*— said Emile. 

"Very well, I will not,"— (Sdnin really was 
not angry,— and, of course, it was hardly possible 
for him to wish that Gemma should know no- 
thing). "Very well . . . have done with your 
embraces. 60 away now, I 'm going to sleep. 
I want to be alone. I *m tired." 

" A splendid idea! "—exclaimed Pantaleone. 
" You need rest! You have fully earned it, noble 
signore! Come along, £miliol On tiptoe! On 
tiptoe! Sssssssh!" 

In saying that he wished to sleep, Sdnin's sole 
object was to rid himself of his companions; but 
when he was left alone, he really did feel a con- 
siderable degree of fatigue in all his limbs. He 
had hardly closed an eye during the whole of the 
previous night, and throwing himself on the bed, 
he immediately sank into a deep sleep. 



96 



SPRING FRESHETS 



XXIII 

He slept for several hours in succession, without 
waking. Then he began to dream that he was 
again fighting the duel, that Herr KlUber was 
standing opposite him, in the capacity of his an- 
tagonist, and that on a fir-tree sat a parrot— and 
the parrot was Pantaleone, and it kept reiterat- 
ing, as it waggled its bill: "One— one— one! one 
—one— one— one ! " 

" One . . . • one .... one! ! *' he heard quite too 
plainly. He opened his eyes, half raised his head. 
.... Some one was tapping at his door. 

" Come in!" shouted Sdnin. 

The waiter made his appearance, and an- 
nounced that a lady was extremely anxious to see 
him. 

" Gemma! "—flashed through his head .... 
but the lady turned out to be her mother— Frau 
Lenore. 

As soon as she entered, she sank on a chair and 
began to weep. 

" What is the matter with you, my good, dear 
Signora Roselli? "—began Sdnin, seating him- 
self by her side, and touching her hand with a 
gentle caress. "What has happened? Calm 
yourself, I entreat you." 

"Akh, Herr Dimitri, I am very .... very 
unhappy!" 

97 



SPRING FRESHETS 

" You are unhappy? " 

" Akh, very I And could I have expected it? 
All at once, like thunder in a clear sky. . . ." 

She drew her breath with difficulty. 

" But what is it? Explain yourself I Would 
you like a glass of water? " 

" No, I thank you. . •" Frau Lenore wiped 
her eyes with her handkerchief, and fell to weep- 
ing again, with fresh vigour.—" You see, I know 
everjrthingi Everything! *' 

" What do you mean by * everything '? *' 

" Everything that has taken place to-day 1 
And the cause . • • • is known to me alsol You 
have behaved like a gentleman ; but what an un- 
fortunate combination of circumstances 1 *T was 
not for nothing that I did not like that trip to 
Soden. . . . Not for nothing! " (Frau Lenore had 
said nothing of the sort on the day of the excur- 
sion, but now it seemed to her that she had fore- 
seen " everjihing.") — " And I have come to you, 
as to a gentleman, as to a friend, although I saw 
you for the first time five days ago. . • . But, 
you know, I am a widow, alone. . . My daugh- 
ter ,. . :' 

Tears choked Frau Lenore's voice. Sdnin did 
not know what to think.—" Your daughter? "— 
he repeated after her. 

"My daughter, Gemma,"— burst almost in a 
groan from beneath Frau Lenore's tear-drenched 
handkerchief,— "has announced to me to-day 

98 



SPRING FRESHETS 

that she will not marry Herr KJiiber, and that 
I must dismiss him I " 

Sanin even fell back a little. He had not ex- 
pected this. 

" I will not allude to the fact,"— pursued Frau 
Lenore,— " that no such thing ever happened in 
the world, as a betrothed girl's rejecting her be- 
trothed husband; but, you see, that means our 
ruin, Herr Dimitri!"— Frau Lenore rolled her 
handkerchief carefully and tightly into a tiny, 
tiny ball, as though she were trying to lock up 
in it all her woe.—" We are no longer able to live 
on the income from our shop, Herr Dimitri! and 
Herr Kliiber is very rich, and will be still richer. 
And why reject him? Because he did not stand 
up for his betrothed? Let us grant that it 
was not quite nice on his part; but, you see, 
he is a civilian, he was not educated in a univer- 
sity, and, as a staid merchant, he is boimd to 
despise the frivolouis pranks of an imknown 
oflBcer. And what sort of an insult was it, Herr 
Dimitri?" 

" Pardon me, Frau Lenore, you appear to be 
condemning me. ..." 

" I am not condemning you in the least! It is 
quite another matter with you. You, like all 
Russians, are a military man . . . ." 

"Excuse me, I am not a . . . ." 

" You are a foreigner, a passing traveller, I 
am grateful to you,"— went on Frau Lenore, 

Oft 



SPRING FRESHETS 

without heeding Sanin. She sighed, threw out 
her hands, spread the handkerchief out again, 
and blew her nose. From the very way in which 
her grief manifested itself, it could be seen that 
she had not been bom under a northern sky.— 
" And how is Herr Elluber to trade in his shop, 
if he fights with his patrons? That is totally 
incompatible! And now I must dismiss him I 
But what are we to live on? In former days we 
made althea paste, and nougat with pistachio 
nuts— and customers came to us; but now every- 
body makes althea pastel Just reflect: even 
without this there will be talk in the town over 
your duel . . . can it be concealed? And all of 
a sudden the marriage is broken off 1 Why, that 
is a scandal, a scandal! G^mma is a very fine 
girl, she is very fond of me ; but she is a stubborn 
republican, she defies the opinion of others. You 
alone can persuade her! " 

Sinin was more astonished than before.r-" I, 
Frau Lenore? " 

"Yes, you alone. . . . You alone. That is 
why I came to you. I could not think of any- 
thing else! You are such a learned, such a nice 
man! You stood up for her. She will believe 
you! She must believe you— surely, you have 
risked your life for her! You will prove to her — 
but I can do no more!— You will prove to her 
that she will ruin herself and all the rest of us. 
You have saved my son— save my daughter also! 

100 



SPRING FRESHETS 

Grod himself has sent you hither. . . I am ready 
to implore you on my knees I '* 

And Frau Lenore half rose from her chair, as 
though preparing to throw herself at Sdnin's 
feet. . . . He restrained her. 

" Frau Lenore 1 For God's sake I What are 
you doing? " 

" Do you promise? You would not have me 
fall dead here, before your eyes? " 

Sdnin was distracted. For the first time in his 
life it fell to his lot to deal with Italian blood 
aflame. 

" I will do anything you like I "—he cried. " I 
will talk with Fraulein Gemma. ..." 

Frau Lenore screamed with joy. 

"Only, really, I don't know what the result 
will be. . . ." 

" Akh, do not refuse, do not refusel"— said 
Frau Lenore, in an imploring voice. " You have 
already consented! The result will, assuredly, be 
excellent! At any rate, I can do no more. She 
will not listen to met '' 

" Has she announced to you, in sudi decisive 
terms, her disinclination to marry Herr Kliiber? " 
—inquired Sdnin, after a brief silence. 

" She cut as with a knife! She *s exactly like 
her father, Giovan* Battistal The intractable 
creature!" 

" Intractable? She? . . ." repeated Sdnin, 
slowly. 

101 



SPRING FRESHETS 

''Yes .... yes .... but she is an angel also. 
She will listen to you. You will oomei you will 
come soon? Oh, my dear Russian friend I"— 
Frau Lenore rose impulsively from her chair, and 
with equal impulsiveness embraced the head of 
Sdnin, who was sitting before her.—" Accept a 
mother's blessing— and give me some water I " 

Sanin brought Signora Roselli a glass of 
water, gave her his word of honour that he would 
go immediately, escorted her down the stairs to 
the street— and, on returning to his room, he even 
wrung his hands, and opened his eyes to their 
fullest extent. 

" Here,*'— he thought,—" here, now, my life 
has taken a turn! Yes, and such a turn that my 
head reels with it." He did not even attempt to 
look within himself, to understand, what was 
going on there: a hubbub— and that is all there 
was to it! "What a day this has beeni"— his 
lips whispered involuntarily. " ' Intractable ' 
. • . . her mother says. . . . And I am to advise 
her . . . eil And what am I to advise?" 

Sanin's head really reeled— and above all this 
whirlwind of varied sensations, impressions, im- 
expressed thoughts, floated constantly the image 
of Gemma, that image which had graven itself 
ineff aceably in his memory on that warm, electric- 
ally-shaken night, in that dark window, beneath 
the rays of the swarming stars I 

a02 



SPRING FRESHETS 



XXIV 

With irresolute steps Sanin approached the 
house of Signora Roselli. His heart was beating 
violently; he plainly felt it, and even heard it 
thumping against his ribs. What was he to say 
to Genuna, how was he to begin the conversation 
with her? He entered the house not through the 
confectionery shop, but by the rear door. In the 
small entrance-room he encountered Frau Le- 
nore. She was both delighted to see him, and 
terrified. 

" I have been waiting, waiting for you,*'— she 
said, in a whisper, squeezing his hand with both 
her hands alternately. " Go into the garden; she 
is there. And see here; I depend upon youl '* 

Sdnin betook himself to the garden. 

Gemma was sitting on a bench near the path, 
and from a large basket filled with cherries was 
sorting out the ripest upon a plate. The sun 
hung low— it was already between six and seven 
o'clock in the evening— and there was more of 
crimson than of gold in the broad rays with 
which it flooded Signora Roselli's little garden. 
From time to time the leaves whispered together, 
almost inaudibly, and as though at leisure, and 
belated bees buzzed disconnectedly from flower to 
the neighbouring flower, and somewhere a turtle- 
dove was cooing, monotonously and unweariedly. 

103 



SPRING FRESHETS 

Gemma wore the same round hat hi which sHe 
had driven to Soden. She cast a glance at Sanin 
from beneath its upturned brim, and again bent 
over her basket. 

Sinin approached G^mma, involuntarily mak- 
ing each step shorter and shorter, and .... and 
• • • and found nothing else to say to her than 
to ask why she was sorting the cherries. 

Gemma made no haste in replying to him. 

"These are over-ripe,"— she said, at last.— 
" They will do for preserves, and the others for 
filling tarts. You know, we sell those round 
tarts, with sugar." 

So saying, G^mma bent her head still lower, 
and her right hand, with two cherries between 
its fingers, remained suspended in the air, be- 
tween the basket and the plate. 

" May I sit down beside you? "—asked Sdnin. 

" Yes."— G^mma moved along a little on the 
bench. Sanin seated himself by her side. " How 
shall I begin? " he thought. But G^mma extri- 
cated him from his dilemma. 

" You fought a duel to-day,"— she said, with 
anunation, turning her lovely, bashfully blushing 
face full upon him,— and what profound grati- 
tude beamed in her eyes I— "And you are so 
calm? That signifies that danger does not exist 
for you? " 

"Good gracious! I did not subject myself 

104 



SPRING FRESHETS 

to any danger. Everything went off very suc- 
cessfully and inoffensively." 

Gemma passed her finger to right and left in 
front of her eyes. . . . Another Italian gesture. 
—"No I no I do not say that! You cannot de- 
ceive me I Pantaleone has told me all I " 

" The idea of his telling you 1 Did he com- 
pare me to the statue of the Commander? " 

" His expressions may be ridiculous, but his 
feeling is not ridiculous, and neither is that which 
you have done to-day. And all for my sake . . . 
for my sake. . . I shall never forget it." 

" I assure you, Fraulein Gemma . . . ." 

" I shall not forget it,"— she said, pausing be- 
tween the words, and once more she looked fix- 
edly at him, and turned away. 

He could now see her delicate, pure profile; 
and it seemed to him that he had never beheld 
anything like it— and had never experienced any- 
thing like what he felt at that moment. His soul 
burned within him. 

"And my promisel"— flashed through his 
thoughts. 

"Fraulein Gemma . . . ." he began, after a 
momentary hesitation. 

"What?" 

She did not turn toward him; she went on sort- 
ing the cherries, cautiously seizing their stems 
in the tips of her fingers, carefully lifting the 

105 



SPRING FRESHETS 

leaves. • . • But how confidingly affectionate 
did that one word, " what," sound! 

" Has yoiu: mother told you nothing . . . 
about . . . ." 

"About?" 

"About me?" 

G^emma suddenly threw the cherries whidi she 
had picked up back into the basket. 

" Has she been talking to you? "—she queried 
in her turn. 

" Yes." 

" What has she said? " 

" She told me that you . . • that you had sud- 
denly decided to change .... your former in- 
tentions." 

Gemma's head was again bent low. It entirely 
disappeared under the hat; nothing but her neck, 
supple and soft as the stalk of a great flower, 
was visible. 
' " What intentions? " 

" Your intentions .... with regard to ... . 
the future organisation of your life." 

"That is . . . are you talking about . . . . 
Herr Kluber? " 

" Yes." 

" Did mamma tell you that I did not wish to 
be Herr Kliiber's wife? " 

" Yes." 

Gemma moved along the bench. The basket 
tipped, fell .... several cherries rolled along 

106 



SPRING FRESHETS 

ihe path. One minute elapsed . • • • then an- 
other. . • . 

" Why did she tell you that? "—her voice made 
itself heard. As before, Sdnin beheld only 
Gemma's neck. Her bosom was rising, and fall- 
ing more quickly than before. 

" Why, your mother thought that, as you and 
I had, so to speak, made friends in a short time, 
and you had some degree of confidence in me, I 
might be in a position to give you some useful 
advice— and that you would heed me." 

Gumma's hands slipped softly down upon her 
knees. . . . She began to arrange the folds of 
her gown. 

" And what advice are you going to give me, 
M. Dimitri?"— she asked, after a pause. 

Sanin perceived that Gumma's fingers were 
trembling on her knees. . . . She was arrang- 
ing the folds of her gown merely for the purpose 
of hiding that tremor. . . He laid his hand gen- 
tly on those pallid, tremulous fingers. 

" (Jenuna,"- he said,—" why do you not look 
at me?" 

She instantly tossed her hat back over her 
shoulder— and riveted on him eyes as trusting 
and grateful as ever. She waited to see what he 
would say. . . . But the sight of her face con- 
fused, and, as it were, blinded him. The warm 
glow of the evening sun illumined her yoimg 
head— and the expression of that head was even 

107 



SPRING FRESHETS 

brighter and more brilliant than that glow 
itself. 

" I am listening to you, M. Dimftri,"— she be- 
gan, with a barely perceptible smile, and an al- 
most imperceptible elevation of the eyebrows; 
" but what advice are you going to give me? " 

"What advice? "—repeated Sdnin.— "Why, 
you see, your mother thinks that to dismiss Herr 
Kluber simply because he did not display any 
particular bravery the day before yesterday . . . ." 

"Simply because?" said G^mma, bending 
down, picking up the basket and placing it beside 
her on the bench. 

"That ... in general ... to dismiss him 
would not be— wise, on your part; that it would 
be a step all of whose consequences should be 
well weighed; that, in conclusion, the condition 
of your aJTairs imposes certain obligations upon 
each member of your family. . . ." 

"All that is mamma's idea,"— interposed 
G^mma ; " those are her words. I know that ; but 
what is your opinion? " 

"Mine?"— Sdnin ceased. He felt that some- 
thing was rising in his throat, and stopping his 
breath.*-" I also think,"— he began, with an 
effort. . . . 

Gemma drew herself up. — "Also ? You — also ? " 

" Yes .... that is to say . . . ." Sdnin could 
not positively add another word. 

" Very well,"— said Gkmma. " If you, as a 
108 



SPRING FRESHETS 

friend, advise me to alter my decision . . . that 
is, not to alter my former decision,— I will think 
about it."— Without herself being aware of what 
she was doing, she began to lay the cherries back 
again from the plate into the basket. • • • 
" Mamma hopes that I will obey you. • . . What 
then? Perhaps I really shall obey you." 

'' But, pardon me, Fraulein G^mma, I should 
first like to know what causes have prompted 
you. ..." 

" I shall obey you,"— repeated Gemma,— all 
around her brow was quivering, her cheeks paled; 
she bit her lower lip.—" You have done so mudi 
for me that I am bound to do what you wish; I 
am bound to comply with your wish. I will tell 
mamma . . . that I will think it over. By the 
way, yonder she is, coming this way." 

In fact, Frau Lenore made her appearance on 
the threshold of the door which led from the house 
into the garden. She was torn asunder with im* 
patience: she could not sit still in one place. Ac- 
cording to her calculations, Sdnin must have fin- 
ished his explanation with Gemma long ago, al- 
though his conversation with her had not lasted 
a quarter of an hour. 

" No, no, no, for God's sake, tell her nothing 
for the present,"— ejaculated Sdnin, hastily, al- 
most in terror.—" Wait. ... I will tell you, I 
will write to you .... and until then, do not 
decide on anything. . . . Waitl" 

109 



SPRING FRESHETS 

He pressed Gremma's hand, sprang up fr(«n 
the bench,— and to the great surprise of Frau 
[Lenore, darted swiftly past her, raising his hat as 
be did so, muttered something unintelligible— 
And disappeared. 

She approached her daughter. 

" Tell me, please, Gremma . . . /' 

The latter suddenly rose and embraced her. 
• . • • '' Dear mamma, can you wait a little, just 
a wee little bit ... . until to-morrow? Can 
you? So that there shall not be a word imtil 
to-morrow? .... Akhl" 

She burst into sudden, bright tears, unexpected 
even by herself. This astonished Frau Lenore 
all the more because the expression of Gemma's 
face was far from sad, joyful rather. 

"What ails thee?"— she asked. "Thou hast 
never been in the habit of weeping— and all of 
a sudden. . . ." 

^* Never mind, mamma, never mind I only wait. 
'We must both wait. Ask me nothing until to- 
-morrow—and let me sort the cherries, before the 
sun sets." 

" But thou wilt be wise? " 

" Oh, I am very wise! "—Gemma nodded her 

^ head significantly. She began to tie the cherries 

• up in little bunches, holding them high in front 

of her blushing face. She did not wipe away her 

tears; they dried of themselves. 

110 



SPRING FRESHETS 



XXV 

Sanin returned to his lodgings almost at a run. 
He felt, he was conscious that only there, only 
alone with himself, would it finally become clear 
to him what ailed him, what had happened to 
him. And, in fact, he had not succeeded in en- 
tering his room, he had not succeeded in seating 
himself in front of the writing-table, before he 
exclaimed in a mournful, dull voice, as he leaned 
his elbows on that same table, and pressed his 
palms to his face: "I love her, I love her 
madlyl"— and he blushed all over inwardly, like 
a coal from which a layer of dead ashes has sud- 
denly been blown away. Another instant . . • • 
and he was no longer able to understand how he 
could have sat beside her .... her I— and chatted 
with her, and not felt that he worshipped the very 
hem of her garment, that he was ready, as young 
men express it,—" to die at her feet." That last 
meeting in the garden had settled everything. 
Now, when he thought of her, she no longer pre- 
sented herself to him with dishevelled curls, by 
the light of the stars:— he beheld her seated on 
the bench, he beheld her tossing back her hat with 
one movement— and gazing at him so trustingly 
.... and the tremor and thirst of love coursed 
through all his veins. He recalled the rose, 
which he had been carrying for the last three days 

r 111 



SPRING FRESHETS 

in his pocket: he pulled it out, and pressed it to 
his lips with such feverish force that he involun- 
tarily frowned with pain. Now he no longer re- 
flected on anything, considered anything, calcu- 
lated or foresaw anything: he separated himself 
from all the past, he leaped forward: from the 
melancholy shore of his solitary, celibate life he 
plunged headlong into that cheerful, seething, 
mighty freshet— and his grief was small, and he 
did not care to know whither it would carry him, 
and whether it would not dash him to pieces 
against the cliff I These were no longer the gen- 
tle currents of the Uhland romance, which had so 
lately lulled him. . . . This was a mighty, irre- 
sistible billow I It flew, and galloped onward,— 
and he flew with it. • • • 

He took a sheet of paper, and without erasures, 
almost with one sweep of the pen, he wrote the 
following: 

** Dear Gemma ! You know what advice I had taken 
upon myself to give you, you know what your mother 
wishes, and what her request to me was, — but what you 
do not know, and what I am bound to tell you now is 
— that I love you, love you with all the passion of a 
heart which loves for the first time ! This fire has flamed 
within me suddenly, but with what force, I cannot find 
words to describe ! ! When your mother came to me and 
asked me — it was only smouldering within me — other- 
wise, as an honourable man, I certainly would have re- 
fused to execute her commission. • • . The very avowal 

112 



SPRING FRESHETS 

which I am now making to you is the avowal of an 
honest man. You must know with whom you have to do, 
—no misunderstanding must exist between us. You see 
that I cannot give you any advice. ... I love you, 
love you, love you — and there is nothing else either in 
my mind or in any heart ! ! 

"Dm. Sanin." 



Having folded and sealed this note, Sanin was 
on the point of ringing for the waiter, and des- 
patching him with it. . . "No! that is awk- 
ward. ... By !^mile? But to betake myself 
to the shop, and seek him out, from among the 
other clerks, is awkward. Moreover, night is at 
hand, and, probably, he has already left the shop." 

But, as he meditated thus, Sanin put on his 
hat, and went out into the street; he turned one 
comer, then another— and, to his indescribable 
joy, beheld Emile in front of him. With a bag 
under his arm, and a bundle of papers in his hand, 
the young enthusiast was hurrying homeward. 

"Not without cause do they say that every 
lover has his star,"— thought Sanin, and called to 
^mile. 

The latter wheeled round, and immediately 
rashed to him. 

Sanin did not allow him to go into raptures, 
handed him the note, explained to him to whom 
and how to deliver it. . . . Emile listened atten- 
tively. 

118 



SPRING FRESHETS 

" No one is to see it? "—he asked, imparting to 
his face a significant and mysterious expression: 
—as much as to say, "we understand the gist of 
the matter 1" 

, "Yes, my dear friend,"— said Sdnin, and be- 
came slightly embarrassed; but he tapped !l^mile 
on the dieek, nevertheless .... "and if there 
should be an answer . . . you will bring me the 
answer, will you not? I shall remain at home." 

"Don't you worry about that!"— whispered 
!^mile merrily, and ran off— and as he ran, he 
nodded at him once more. 

Sdnin returned home— and, without lighting 
his candles, threw himself on the divan, put his 
hands behind his head, and surrendered himself 
to those sensations of love which had just been 
avowed, that cannot be described: he who has 
experienced them knows their languor and sweet- 
ness: it is useless to talk about them to him who 
has not experienced them. 

The door opened— ifimile's head appeared. 

"I have brought it,"— he whispered:— "here 
it is, the answer 1" 

He showed a folded paper, and raised it above 
his head. 

Sdnin sprang from the divan, and snatched it 
from !^mile's hands. Passion had flamed up too 
powerfully within him: he cared nothing now 
for secrecy, not even for the preservation of pro- 
priety—even before that young lad, her brother. 

114 



SPRING FRESHETS 

He would have felt scruples before him, he would 
have liked to put constraint on himself— if he 
could! 

He went to the window— and, by the light of 
a street lantern, which stood directly in front of 
the house, he read the following lines: 

** I beg you, I implore you, not to come to us all day 
to-morrow^ not to show yourself. This is necessary for 
me, imperatively necessary, — and then all will be set- 
tled. I know you will not refuse me, because .... 

"Gemma." 

Sinin read this note through twice— oh, how 
touchingly-charming and beautiful did her hand- 
writing appear to him 1— meditated a while, and, 
turning to Emile, who, desirous of letting it be 
understood what a discreet young man he was, 
was standing with his face to the wall and drum- 
ming on it with his finger-nails, called him loudly 
by name. 

!^mile immediately ran to Sanin,— " What are 
yom- orders?" 

"Listen, my dear friend . . . . " 

" Monsieur Dimitri,"— ifimile interrupted him, 
in a reproachful voice:—" why don't you call me 
'thou'?" 

Sinin broke into a laugh.— "Well, all right. 
Listen, my dear friend"— (Emile skipped with 
satisfaction)— "listen: thou art to say yonder, 
thou understandest where, that everything will 

115 



SPRING FRESHETS 

be punctually executed"— (JEmile compressed 
his lips, and nodded his head solemnly)— ''and 
thyself . . • . What art thou going to do to- 
morrow? " 

"I? What am I going to do? What would 
you like to have me do? " 

"If thou canst, come to me as early in the 
morning as possible,— and we will roam about 
the suburbs of Frankfurt until evening. . . . 
Watthou?" 

Again £mile gave a skip.— "Good gracious, 
what in the world could be nicer! Stroll with 
you— why, that is simply splendid I I'll come, 
without fail 1" 

"And what if they will not give thee leave?'* 

"They Willi" 

"Hearken • • . Don't tell there that I have 
invited thee for the whole day." 

"Why should I tell? I'll simply walk oflfl 
What harm is there in that! " !l^mile kissed Sir 
nin heartily, and ran away. 

But S^nin paced his chamber for a long time 
—and went to bed late. He gave himself up to 
the same delicate and sweet sensations, to that 
same joyful swooning in the presence of a new 
life. Sdnin was greatly pleased that he had hit 
upon the idea of inviting £mile for the morrow; 
he resembled his sister in countenance. " He will 
remind me of her," thought Sdnin. 

But what astonished him most of all was: how 



SPRING FRESHETS 

he could have been different yesterday from 
what he was to-day. It seemed to him that he 
had loved Genmia "eternally"— and had loved 
her precisely as he loved her to-day. 

XXVI 

On the following day, at eight o'clock in the 
morning, ifimile, with Tartaglia in a leash, pre- 
sented himself before Sdnin. Had he spnmg from 
German parents, he could not have displayed 
more punctuality. He had lied at home: he had 
said that he was going to walk with Sdnin until 
breakfast, and then go to the shop. While S&nia 
was dressing, JSmile tried to talk to him, in a 
rather irresolute way, it is true, about Gemma, 
about the breaking of her betrothal with Herr 
Kliiber; but Sdnin maintained a grim silence in 
response, and Emile, showing that he imderstood 
why it was not proper to touch lightly on that 
important point, no longer addressed him,— and 
merely assumed, from time to time, a concen- 
trated and even stem expression. 

After drinking coffee, the two friends set out 
—on foot, of course,— for Hansen, a small ham- 
let situated a short distance from Frankfurt, 
and surrounded by forests. The entire chain of 
the Taunus Mountains is visible thence, as 
though in the palm of one's hand. The weather 
was magnificent: the sun shone and blazedi but 

117 



SPRING FRESHETS 

did not bum; a fresh breeze rustled briskly 
among the green leaves; over the ground, in 
small patches, the shadows of the lofty, circular 
clouds glided smoothly and swiftly. The young 
men soon emerged from the town and stepped 
off boldly and merrily along the smoothly-swept 
road. They entered the forest— and rambled 
there for quite a long time; they ate a very 
hearty breakfast in the village inn; then they 
climbed the hills, admired the views, rolled stones 
down, and clapped their hands, when the stones 
skipped amusingly and oddly, like rabbits, until 
a man who was passing below, and was invisible 
to them, berated them roundly, in a powerful, res- 
onant voice ; then they lay down, stretching them- 
selves out on the short, dry moss, of a yellowish- 
violet hue: they drank beer in another hostelry, 
they ran races, leaped for a wager, to see who 
would jump fiuiliest. They discovered an ecfao» 
and talked with it, sang, shouted "a-oo," broke 
twigs, decorated their hats with fronds of fern — 
and even danced. Tartaglia participated in all 
these occupations, to the best of his ability and 
understanding: he could not throw stones, it is 
true, but he rolled heels over head himself, and 
howled an accompaniment when the young men 
sang,— and even drank beer, although with evi- 
dent disgust: a student, to whom he had once be- 
longed, had taught him that trick. However, he 
obeyed Emile badly— it was quite another matter 

118 



SPRING FRESHETS 

with his master Pantaleone,— and when Emile 
ordered him to " talk," or " sneeze/'— he merely 
wagged his tail, and thrust out his tongue like a 
cylinder. 

The young men also chatted together. At the 
beginning of the stroll, Sdnin, as being the older, 
and therefore the most sensible, undertook to dis- 
cuss, what is Fate, or the predestination of des- 
tiny, and what is the vocation of man, and its sig- 
nificance, but the conversation speedily took a less 
serious turn. IBmile began to question his friend 
and patron about Russia, about the manner of 
fighting duels there, and whether the women are 
beautiful there, and whether one could learn the 
Russian language in a short time, and how he 
had felt when the officer had taken aim at him. 
And Sdnin, in his turn, interrogated Emile about 
his father, his mother, their family a£Pairs in gen- 
eral, striving in every way not to mention Gem- 
ma's name,— and thinking only of her. Prop- 
erly speaking, he did not even think of her— but 
of the morrow, of that mysterious to-morrow, 
ndiich was to bring him unknown, unprecedented 
happiness! There seemed to be a ciulain, a thin, 
light curtain, hanging in front of his mental vis- 
ion, swaying gently,— and behind that curtain he 
felt ... he felt the presence of a young, im- 
movable, divine face, with an affectionate smile 
on its lips, and eyelashes downcast with sternness, 
feigned sternness. And that face was not the 

119 



SPRING FRESHETS 

face of Gtemma— it was the face of bliss itself! 
And lOy at last, his hour has come, the curtain has 
rolled away, the mouth opens, the eyelashes are 
raised— the divinity has seen him— and then there 
is light, as of the sun, and joy, and rapture un- 
ending! He thinks of that morrow— and again 
his soul swoons within him for joy, in the yearn- 
ing of incessantly-augmenting anticipation! 

And nothing interferes with this anticipation, 
this yearning. It accompanies his every move- 
ment—and hinders not in the least. It does not 
prevent his making a capital dinner in a third 
hostelry with ifimile. Aiid only from time to 
time, like a brief gleam of lightning, does the 
thought flash up within him,— what if any one 
in the world loiew about it? This yearning 
does not prevent his playing at leap-frog with 
ilfemile, after dinner. This game takes place on 
a luxiu*iant green meadow .* • • . and what is 
Sanin's surprise, what is his amazement, when, 
with his legs cleverly spread, and in the act of 
flying like a bird over the squatting ]^mile, to the 
loud barking of Tartaglia,— he suddenly sees be- 
fore him, on the very edge of the green glade,— 
two officers, in whom he immediately recognises 
his antagonist of the day before, and his second, 
Messrs. von Donhof and Richter! Each of them 
sticks a monocle in his eye, and stares at him, and 
grins. . • . Sdnin lands on his feet, turns away, 

120 



SPRING FRESHETS 

hastily dons his discarded coat, utters an abrupt 
word to ]^mile, the latter also puts on his jacket 
—and both inmiediately decamp. 

They returned late to Frankfurt.—" I shall be 
scolded,"— said Emile to Sanin, as he bade him 
farewell:— "well, I don't care! But I have had 
such a splendid, splendid day!" 

On reaching his quarters in the hotel, Sanin 
foimd a note from Gemma. She appointed him 
a tryst— on the following day, at seven o'clock in 
the morning, in one of the public parks which 
surround Frankfurt on all sides. 

How his heart quivered! How glad he was 
that he had obeyed her so implicitly! And, great 
heavens, what .... what all did not that un- 
precedented, unique, impossible and indubitable 
morrow promise! 

He riveted his eyes upon (gemma's letter. The 
long, elegant tail of the letter G, the first letter 
of her name, which stood at the end of the sheet, 
—recalled to his mind her beautiful fingers, her 
hand. . . • He thought that he had never 
toudied that hand with his lips. . . . "Italian 
women,"— he thought,—" are bashful and strict, 
contrary to their reputaticm. . . . And Gemma 
is far more sol Empress .... goddess .... 
pure, virgin marble. . . . But the time will come 
—and 'tis not far off .... " 

There was one happy mortal in Frankf lui; that 

121 



» 



SPRING FRESHETS 

night . • • Heslept;buthecouldsay of himself^ 
in the words of the poet: 

** I sleep . . . but my sensitive heart sleeps not. . • •" 

And it beat as lightly as beat the wings of a 
butterfly, perched upon a flower, and steeped in 
the summer sunshine. 



XXVII 

At five o'clock Sdnin awoke, at six he was al- 
ready dressed, at half -past six he was strolling 
through the public park, in sight of the little 
arbour which Gemma had mentioned in her note. 

The morning was still, warm, grey. It some- 
times seemed as though the rain were on the very 
point of descending: but the outstretched hand 
felt nothing, and it was only when one glanced 
at the sleeve of his garment that little traces of 
raindrops, like the tiniest pearls, could be de- 
tected; but even these speedily ceased. As for 
the wind— it was as though no such thing existed 
on earth. Every sound, instead of fljring, dif- 
fused itself around: in the distance, the whitish 
mist grew slightly more dense; the air was laden 
with the fragrance of mignonette and the flowers 
of the white acacia. 

The shops were not yet open on the streets, 
but pedestrians were already beginning to make 

122 



SPRING FKBSHETS 

their appearance; now and then a solitary car- 
riage rumbled past • • • • no one was strolling 
in the park. A gardener was scraping the path 
with a spade, in a leisurely manner, and a de- 
crepit old woman in a black cloth cloak was hob- 
bling along an alley. Not for a single instant 
could Sdnin take that wretched being for Grcm- 
ma,— and yet, his heart gave a bound within him» 
and he followed the retreating black spot atten- 
tively with his eyes. 

Seven 1 boomed out the clock on a tower. 

Sdnin came to a halt.— Was it possible that 
she would not come? A cold shiver suddenly 
coursed through all his limbs. That same shiver 
was repeated a moment later,— but for another 
reason. Sdnin heard behind him light footsteps, 
\he faint rustle of a woman's gO¥ni. • • He 
turned round: 'twas she! 

Grcmma was walking behind him, along the 
path. She wore a greyish mantilla and a small, 
dark hat. She glanced at Sinin, turned her head 
aside— and, as she came on a level with him, 
walked swiftly past. 

"" Gemma!" he said, in a barely-audible voice. 

She gave him a slight nod— and continued to 
walk on. He followed her. 

He was breathing brokenly. His legs obeyed 
him badly. 

Genuna passed the arbour, turned to the right, 
passed a small, flattish basin, wherein sparrows 

123 



SPRING FRESHETS 

were resftlessly splashing— and, entering a cliimp 
of k)f ty lilacs, sank down on a bench. The spot 
was comfortable and sheltered. Sanin seated 
himself by her side. 

A minute passed— and neither he nor she 
had uttered a word: she did not even look at him 
—and he gazed not at her face, but at her clasped 
hands, in which she held a small parasol. What 
was there to say? What was there to say, that, 
by its significance, could compare with their mere 
presence here, together, alone, so early, so close 
to each other? 

" You .... are not angry with me?"— articu- 
lated Sinin at last. 

It would have been difficult for Sanin to say 
anything more stupid than these words .... he 
realised that himself. . . • But, at all events, the 
silence was broken. 

"I?"-sherepUed. "What for? No." 

" And you believe me? "—he went on. 

"What you wrote?" 

"Yes." 

Gemma dropped her head, and said no- 
thing. The parasol slipped from her hands. 
She hastily picked it up, before it fell on the 
path. 

"Akh, believe me, believe what I wrote to 
you,"— exclaimed Sanin; all his timidity had 
suddenly vanished— he spoke with ardour:—" if 
there is any truth on earth, sacred, indubitable 

124 



SPRING FRESHETS 

truth,— then it is that I love you, love you pas- 
sionately, Gemma ! " 

She cast a sidelong, momentary glance at him 
—and again came near dropping her parasol. 

" Believe me, believe me,"— he reiterated. He 
implored her, stretched out his hands to her— and 
dared not touch her. "What did yqu wish to 
have me do, to convince you? " 

Again she darted a glance at him. 

"Tell me, Monsieur Dimitri,"— she began:— 
"day before yesterday, when you came to per- 
suade me,— you, of course, did not yet know .... 
did not feel . . . . " 

"I did feel,"— interpolated Sanin,— "but I 
did not know. I fell in love with you the very 
moment I beheld you,— but did not immediately 
understand what you had become for me I More- 
over, I heard that you were a betrothed bride. 
... As for yoiu* mother's commission— in the 
first place, how could I refuse? and, in the seccmd 
place,— I think I transmitted my message to you 
in siLch a way that you might have guessed. ..." 

Heavy footsteps became audible, and a de- 
cidedly corpulent gentleman, with a travelling- 
bag slung across his shoulder, a foreigner, evi- 
dently, stepped forth from behind the clump of 
lilacs— and with the unceremoniousness of a 
chance traveller, surveyed with his glance the 
young pair who were sitting on the bench, 
coughed loudly— and went his way. 

125 



SPRING FRESHETS 

" Your mother/'— began Sdnin, as soon as the 
clumping of the heavy feet had died away,— 
"told me that your refusal would produce a 
scandal" (Gremma frowned slightly); "that I, 
myself, had, in part, given rise to imf avom*able 
comments, and that, consequently • . • • conse- 
quently . . . upon me— in a certain degree— de- 
volved the obligation of telling you not to dismiss 
your betrothed, Herr Eliiber. . . •" 

"Monsieur Dimitri," said Gremma, passing 
her hand over her hair, on the side turned to 
Sinin:— "please do not call Herr Kliiber my 
betrothed. I shall never be his bride. I have dis- 
missed him." 

" You have dismissed him ? When ? " 

"Yesterday." 

"In person?" 

" Yes. At om* house. He came to us." 

" Gremma! That means that you love me? " 

She turned toward him. 

"Had it been otherwise .... would I have 
come hither?" she whispered— and both her 
hands fell upon the bench. 

Sinin seized those hands, which lay helplessly, 
with the palms upturned, in his own,— pressed 
them to his eyes, to his lips. . . . Then the veil 
which had appeared before him in his vision of 
the day before was lifted! Here it was, happi- 
ness, here was its radiant face! 

He raised his head— and looked at Gkmma— 
126 



SPRING FRESHETS 

straightly and boldly. She also looked at him— 
somewhat downward, from above. The gaze of 
her half -opened eyes glimmered dimly, bathed in 
light, blissful tears. But her face was not smiling 
. • • • no! it laughed, also with a blissful though 
noiseless laugh. 

He tried to draw her to his breast, but she re- 
sisted, and without ceasing to laugh with the same 
noiseless laugh, she shook her head in negation. 
" Wait," her happy eyes seemed to say. 

"Oh, Gemma!"— cried Sanin: "could I have 
dreamed that thou—" (his heart trembled within 
him, when his lips uttered, for the first time, this 
" thou ") — " that thou wouldst love me? " 

"I did not expect it myself,"— said Gemma 
softly. 

" Could I imagine,"— pursued Sdnin,— " could 
I imagine, when approaching Frankfurt, where 
I intended to remain only a few hours, that I 
would find here the happiness of my whole life? " 

"Of your whole life? Really?" — asked 
Gremma. 

"Of my whole life, forever and forever!"— 
exclaimed Sdnin with fresh impetuosity. 

The gardener's shovel suddenly began to 
scrape a couple of paces from the bench on which 
they were sitting. 

"Let us go home"— whispered Gemma.— 
"Let us go together— wilt thou?" 

If she had said to him, at that moment: 
127 



SPRING FRESHETS 

"Fling thyself into the sea— wilt thou?"— he 
would have flown headlong into the gulf, before 
she had uttered the last word. 

Together they left the park, and wended their 
way homeward, not through the city streets, but 
by way of the suburbs. 

XXVIII 

Sanin walked on, now by Gemma's side, now a 
little behind her, never taking his eyes from her, 
and never ceasing to smile. And she seemed to 
be hurrying onward .... yet appeared also to 
be pausing. To teD the truth, both of them— he 
all pale, she all rosy with emotion,— moved for- 
ward like persons befogged. That which they 
had done together a few moments before— that 
surrender of each soul to the other,- was so 
mighty and so new and dread a thing; ever3rthing 
in their lives had so suddenly come to a standstil 
had undergone a change^ that they could nofTfe- 
cover themselves, and were merely conscious of 
the whirlwind which had caught them up in its 
grasp, like that nocturnal whirlwind which had 
almost hurled them into each other's embrace. 
Sanin walked along— and felt that he was even 
regarding Genuna in a different light: every mo- 
ment he descried several peculiarities in her walk, 
in her movements,— and, great heavens! how 
illimitably dear and charming they were to him I 

128 



SPRING FRESHETS 

And she was conscious that he was gazing at her 
thus. 

Sanin and she loved for the first time, all the 
marvels of first love were accomplished in them. 
First love is— a revolution: the monotonously- 
regular course of life which has established itself 
is broken and shattered in one instant, and youth 
stands at the barricade, its flaunting standard 
waves high in air,— and whatever may be in store 
for it ahead— death or new life— it wafts to all 
its rapturous greeting. 

" What is this? Can it be our old man? "—said 
Sdnin, pointing at a muffled figure, which was 
making its way hurriedly along on one side, as 
though endeavoiuing to remain unperceived. In 
the midst of his superabundance of bliss, he felt 
impelled to talk to G^mma— not about love— that 
was a settled, a sacred thing,— but about some- 
thing or other diff^erent. 

"Yes, that is Pantaleone,"— replied Gremma 
merrily ahd happily. " He certainly must have 
followed on my heels out of the house; all day 
yesterday, he watched every step I took. . . . He 
guesses the truth ! " 

" He guesses the truth I "—repeated Sdnin rap- 
turously.— What could Gemma say over which 
he would not go into raptures! 

Then he begged her to narrate to him, in detail, 
everyHiing which had taken place on the preced- 
ing day. 

12a 



SPRING FRESHETS 

And she immediately began to relate, hurry- 
ing, entangling herself, smiling, heaving little 
sighs, and exchanging brief, brilliant glances 
with Sdnin. She told him how, after the con- 
versation of two days previously, her mamma had 
persistently endeavoured to get out of her. 
Gemma, something definite: how she had rid her- 
self of Frau Lenore, by promising to inform her 
of her decision within twenty-four hours ; how she 
had secured that mudi time— and how diffi- 
cult it had been: how Herr Kliiber had made 
his appearance quite unexpectedly, more con- 
ceited and starched than ever: how he had ex- 
pressed his displeasure at the boyishly-unpar- 
donable, and for him, Kliiber, deeply-insulting 
(that was his precise expression) sally of the 
Russian stranger— "he meant thy duel"— and 
how he had demanded that thou shouldst im- 
mediately be forbidden the house. " Because,"— 
he added— and here Grcmma lightly imitated his 
voice and manner,— "it casts a shadow on my 
honour: as though I could not have protected my 
betrothed, had I regarded that as either indis- 
pensable or useful! All Frankfiut will learn 
to-morrow that a stranger has fought with an 
officer on account of my betrothed — who ever 
heard of such a thing? It sullies my honour I" 
"Mamma agreed with him— just imagine!— but 
at this point I suddenly informed him that there 
was no need for his woriying about his honour and 

X 180. 



SPRING FRESHETS 

his person, there was no need for him to feel in- 
sulted by gossip about his betrothed, because I 
was no longer his betrothed, and would never be 
his wife! I must confess that I would have 
liked first to have a talk with you .... with 
thee, before definitively dismissing him; but he 
came . . . and I could not restrain myself. 
Mamma even shrieked with fright, and I went 
into the other room and brought him his ring — 
thou didst not notice, I had already taken ofi^ that 
ring two days ago— and gave it to him. He was 
frightfully ofi^ended; but as he is frightfully ego- 
tistical and conceited, he did not say much and 
took himself off. Of course, I had to endure a 
great deal from manmia, and it pained me greatly 
to see how grieved she was— and I thought that 
I had been in a little too much of a hurry, but, 
you see, I had thy note— and even without that, 
I already knew . . . . " 

" That I loved thee,"— put in S£nin. 

" Yes .... that thou lovedst me." 

Thus spoke Grcmma, faltering and smiling, 
and lowering her head, or relapsing altogether 
into silence, every time that any one came toward 
her, or passed her. And Sdnin listened ecstati- 
caUy, enjoying the very sound of her voice, as, on 
the day before, he had admired her handwriting. 

''Mamma is extremely grieved," — began 
Gemma again— and her words followed one an- 
other very, very swiftly:— "she absolutely re- 

181 



SPRING FRESHETS 

fuses to take into consideration the fact that 
HeiT Kliiber might be repulsive to me, that I was 
not marrying him for love— but in consequence 
of her earnest entreaties. . . . She suspects you 
• • . . thee; that is to say, to speak in plain tenns, 
she is convinced that I have fallen in love with 
thee,— and this is all the more painful to her, that 
such a thing had never even entered her head day 
before yesterday, and she even commissioned thee 
to reason with me. . . . And a strange commis* 
sion it was— wasn't it? Now she calls thee .... 
you, a sly dog, a crafty man, says that you have 
betrayed her trust, and predicts that you will de- 
ceive me also . . . . " 

" But, Gemma,"— exclaimed Sdnin,— " didst 
not thou tell her. . . ." 

" I have told her nothing! What right had I, 
without having talked with you? " 

Sanin clasped his hands.— ''G^mma, I hope 
that now, at least, thou wilt confess aD to her, 
thou wilt take me to her. ... I want to prove to 
thy mother that I am not a deceiver! " 

Sdnin's breast fairly heaved with a flood of 
magnanimous and fervent emotions. 

Gemma stared at him with all her eyes.—" Do 
you really want to go to manmia now, with me? 
to mamma, who asserts that . . . that every- 
thing is impossible between us,— and nothing will 
ever come of it?"— There was one word whidi 
Gemma could not make up her mind to utter. . • 

182 



SPRING FRESHETS 

It burned her lips; but Sdnin uttered it all the 
more willingly. 

" I know no higher felicity, Gemma, than to 
marry thee, to be thy husband! " 

He no longer recognised any bounds to his 
love, to his magnanimity, nor to his firmness. 

On hearing these words. Gemma, who had 
halted for a moment, proceeded onward more 
rapidly than ever. . . . She seemed to wish to 
flee from that too-great and unexpected happi- 
ness! 

But all at once her limbs gave way beneath 
her. From round the comer of a lane, a few 
paces distant from her, in a new hat and new 
short-coat, straight as an arrow, curled like a 
poodle, Herr Kliiber made his appearance. He 
caught sight of Grcmma, caught sight of Sdnin— 
gave a sort of internal snort, and throwing back 
his supple figure, he advanced foppishly to meet 
them. Sdnin writhed, but on glancing at Klii- 
ber's face, to which its owner was endeavoiuing, 
to the best of his ability, to impart an expression 
of scornful surprise, and even compassion,— on 
glancing at that ruddy, commonplace face, he 
suddenly felt a flood of wrath— and strode for- 
ward. 

Gemma grasped his ^rm, and with calm deci- 
sion giving him hers, gazed straight into the face 
of her former betrothed. . . . The latter screwed 
up his eyes, shrank together, turned to one side, 

isa 



SPRING FRESHETS 

—and, muttering between his teeth: " The usual 
ending of the songi "—(''Do* aUe Ende vom^ 
LtVd^/'^)— retreated, with the same dandified, 
slightly springy gait as usual. 

" What was that he said, the rascal ! '*— inquired 
Sanin, and tried to rush after Kluber; but 
Gemma held him back, and walked on with him, 
still without withdrawing her arm, which was 
thrust through his. 

The Roselli confectionery shop appeared 
ahead. Once more Gemma halted. 

"Dimitri, Monsieur Dimitri,"— said she: "we 
have not yet entered yonder house, we have not 
yet seen mamma. ... If you still wish to re- 
flect, if . . . you are still free, Dimitri!" 

In reply, Sdnin pressed her arm very, very 
firmly to his breast— and led her forward. 

" Manuna,"— said G^nuna, entering with S£- 
nin the room where sat Frau Lenore,— " I have 
brought the real one! " 

XXIX 

Had Gemma announced that she had brought 
the cholera, or even death itself with her, Frau 
Lenore could not, we are free to assume, have re- 
ceived the news with any greater despair. She 
immediately seated herself in a comer, with her 
face to the wall,— and burst into tears, almost 
wailed, precisely as a Russian peasant-woman 

a84 



SPRING FRESHETS 

does over the coffin of her husband or her son. At 
first, G^mma was so disconcerted that she did not 
even approach her mother— and stood like a 
statue, in the middle of the room; and Sanin was 
thrown into utter confusion,— almost to the point 
of launching into tears himself! This inconsol- 
able weeping lasted for a whole hour: a whole 
hour! Pantaleone deemed it best to lock the 
outer door of the shop, in order that no stranger 
might enter— although the hour was early. The 
old man was puzzled— and, at any rate, did not 
approve of the haste with which Gemma and 
S^in had acted; however, he could not make up 
his mind to condemn them, and was readv to ac- 
cord them his protection— in case of need; he had 
greatly disliked Herr Kliiber! £mile regarded 
himself as the intermediary between his friend 
and his sister— and was almost proud that every- 
thing had turned out so splendidly! He was not 
in the least able to understand why Frau Lenore 
was grieving so violently, and in his heart he de- 
cided on the spot that women, even the best of 
them, suffer from a deficiency of intellectual ca- 
pacity! Sdnin fared worse than all the rest. 
Frau Lenore raised a howl, and flourished her 
arms violently, as soon as he came near her— and 
in vain did he strive, as he stood at a distance, to 
exclaim loudly, several times: "I ask your 
daughter's hand ! " Frau Lenore was especiaDy 
vexed at herself, because: "how could she have 

135 



SPRING FRESHETS 

been so blind— and seen nothing!"— "If my 
Giovan' Battista had been alive,"— she kept re- 
peating through her tears,—" nothing of this sort 
would have happened!"— "O Lord, what is 
this?"— thought Sanin— "why, this is stupid, I 
must say! " He did not dare to look at Gemma, 
neither could she bring herself to raise her eyes 
to his. She contented herself with patiently tend- 
ing her mother, who at first repulsed her. . • . 

At last, little by little, the storm subsided. 
Frau Lenore ceased to weep, permitted Gemma 
to lead her out of the comer, in which she had en- 
sconced herself, seat her in an arm-chair near the 
window, and give her some water with orange- 
flower essence to drink; she permitted SAnin— 
not to approach . • . oh, no!— but, at least, to 
remain in the room— (she had previously de- 
manded incessantly that he should withdraw) — 
and did not interrupt him while he was talking. 
Sdnin immediately availed himself of the calm 
which had set in,— and displayed amazing elo- 
quence: he would hardly have been able to set 
forth his intentions and his sentiments to Gemma 
herself with as much ardour and persuasive- 
ness. Those sentiments were of the most sin- 
cere description, those intentions were of the pur- 
est, as in the case of Almaviva in " The Barber 
of Seville."— He did not conceal, either from 
Frau Lenore or from himself, the disadvanta- 
geous aspects of those intentions; but the disad- 

186 



SPRING FRESHETS 

vantages were only apparent! It is true that he 
was a foreigner, that they had made his acquaint- 
ance only a short time before, that they knew no- 
thing definite about his personality, or about his 
means; but he was ready to present all the neces- 
sary credentials to prove that he was a man of 
good standing, and not a poor one; he would 
send for the most indubitable testimonials of his 
fellow-countrymen!— He hoped that Grcmma 
would be happy with him, and that he would be 
able to sweeten her separation from her relatives! 
. . • At the mention of separation— that one 
word ''separation" came near spoiling the 
whole business. . • • Frau Lenore trembled all 
over, and began to throw herself about. . . . Sd- 
nin hastened to remark that the separation would 
be only temporary— and that, after all> possibly— 
there would be none at all! 

Sanin's eloquence was not wasted. Frau Le- 
nore began to glance at him, although still with 
bitterness and reproach, yet no longer with her 
former repulsion and wrath; then she permitted 
him to approach, and even to sit down beside her 
(Grcnuna was sitting on her other side) ; then she 
began to upbraid him— not with looks alone, but 
with words, which denoted a certain softening of 
her heart: she began to complain, and her com- 
plaints grew ever more quiet and gentle; they 
alternated with questions, addressed sometimes 
to her daughter, sometimes to Sdnin; then she 

187. 



SPRING FRESHETS 

allowed him to take her hand, and did not imme- 
diately withdraw it . . • then she fell to weeping 
again— but with tears of an entirely different 
sort. • • . Then she smiled sadly, and mourned 
the absence of Giovan' Battista, but in another 
sense than previously. . . . Another moment 
elapsed— and the two culprits— Sdnin and 
Gemma— were already kneeling at her feet, and 
she was laying her hands on their heads by turns; 
yet another moment elapsed— and they were em- 
bracing and kissing her, and Simile, his face 
beaming with rapture, ran into the room, and also 
flung himself upon the closely-united group. 

Pantaleone looked into the room, grinned and 
frowned simultaneously,— and, wending his way 
to the shop, opened the outer door. 

XXX 

The transition from despair to sadness, and 
from that to "quiet resignation," was accom- 
plished with considerable rapidity in Frau Le- 
nore;— but that quiet resignation, in its turn, 
was promptly converted into secret satisfaction, 
which, nevertheless, was in every way concealed 
and repressed, for the sake of propriety. Frau 
Lenore had liked Sdnin from the very first day 
of their acquaintance ; having accustomed herself 
to the idea of his being her son-in-law, she foimd 
nothing especially disagreeable in it, although 

138 



SPRING FRESHETS 

she considered it her duty to preserve on her coun- 
tenance a somewhat offended .... or, rather, 
worried expression. Moreover, everything which 
had happened during the last few days had been 
so remarkable. • • • One thing after another! 
As a practical woman, and a mother, Frau Le- 
nore thought it her duty to subject Sanin to a 
varied interrogatory: and Sdnin, who, on setting 
out in the morning for his tryst with Gemma, had 
not had the remotest idea of marrying her,— in 
truth, he had thought of nothing at the time, and 
had merely surrendered himself to the prompt- 
ings of his passion— Sdnin, with entire readiness, 
and even, one might say, with zeal, entered into 
his role of a betrothed bridegroom, and to all the 
questions replied circumstantially, in detail, will- 
ingly. Having convinced herself that he was a 
genuine, born noble, and even rather surprised 
that he was not a prince, Frau Lenore assumed 
a serious mien and ''warned him beforehand 
that she meant to be quite unceremoniously 
frank with him, because she was compelled 
thereto by her sacred obligations as a mother 1 "— 
to which S£nin replied that he had expected no- 
thing else from her, and himself earnestly im- 
plored her not to spare him! 

Then Frau Lenore remarked that Herr Klii- 
ber (as she uttered that name, she sighed a little, 
compressed her lips, and stammered) -Herr 
Kliiber, Gemma's former betrothed, already was 

189 



SPRING FRESHETS 

in receipt of an income of eight thousand gul- 
dens—and that, with every year, that sum would 
increase— and what was his, S£nin's income? 

"Eight thousand guldens,"— repeated S£nin, 
in a drawl. . . . "That makes, in our money, 
about fifteen thousand rubles. . . . My income 
is much less. I have a small estate in the govern- 
ment of Tula. ... If the farming is well man- 
aged, it may jrield- and even ought, without fail, 
to yield, five or six thousand. . • • Yes, and if I 
enter the service— I may easily receive a salary 
of two thousand rubles." 

" The service, in Russia? " exclaimed Frau Le- 
nore. "That means that I shall have to part 
with Gemma!" 

" I may get myself assigned to the diplomatic 
corpsl"— interposed Sanin; "I have several in- 
fluential connections. . . . Then the service is 
discharged abroad. If not, here is another thing 
which can be done— and this is far the best of all: 
sell my estate, and use the resulting capital in 
some profitable undertaking— for instance, for the 
development of your confectionery business."— 
S£nin was, to tell the truth, conscious that he was 
sajring something rather absurd, but an incom- 
prehensible audacity held possession of him! He 
would glance at G^mma, who, from the moment 
the "practical" discussion began, had kept ris- 
ing, walking about the room, seating herself 
again,— he would glance at her— and then no ob- 

140 



SPRING FRESHETS 

stack existed for him, and he was ready to ar- 
range everything, instantly, in the best manner 
possible— if only she were not disquieted I 

" Herr Kliiber also wished to give me a small 
sum for repairing the shop," said Frau Lenore, 
after a brief hesitation. 

" Mother 1 for (Jod's sake, mother!"— cried 
Gemma, in Italian. 

" We must discuss these matters betimes, my 
daughter,"— Frau Lenore answered her, in the 
same language. 

Again she turned to Sdnin, and began to ques- 
tion him as to what laws exist in Russia concern- 
ing marriage, and whether there were any obsta- 
cles to the union with Roman Catholics— as 
there were in Prussia?— (At that time— in the 
'4iO's,— all Germany still recalled the quarrel be- 
tween the Prussian government and the Arch- 
bishop of Cologne, on the point of mixed mar- 
riages. )— But when Frau Lenore learned that, 
by marrying a noble, her daughter herself would 
become a gentlewoman— she manifested some 
satisfaction.—" But, of course, you must first go 
to Russia?" 

"Why?" 

"But why not? To receive permission from 
your emperor?" 

Sanin explained to her that that was not in 
the least necessary .... but that, perhaps, he 
really would have to go to Russia for a short time 



SPRING FRESHETS 

before the wedding— (as he uttered these words, 
his heart contracted within him,— Gremma, who 
was looking at him, miderstood that it contracted 
—and flushed crimson, and became thoughtful) 
—and that he would try to take advantage of his 
stay in his native land to sell his estate . . • • in 
any case, he would bring thence the necessary 
money. 

''I should also like to ask you to bring me 
some good Astrakhan lambskins, for a cloak,*' 
—said Frau Lenore. "I hear that they are 
wonderfully fine there, and wonderfully 
cheap!" 

"I certainly wiD bring you some— with liie 
greatest pleasure!— and Gemma also!"— ex- 
claimed S£nin. 

"And me a morocco cap, embroidered in sil- 
ver,"— interposed £mile, thrusting in his head 
from the adjoining room. 

"Very well,— I will . . . and some slippers 
for Pantaleone." 

"Come, why so? why? "—remarked Frau Le- 
nore. " We are talking about serious things now. 
But here is another point,"— added the practical 
lady. "You say you will sell your estate. But 
how will you do that? Does that mean that you 
will sell the peasants also? " 

Sdnin felt as though he had been stabbed in the 
ribs. He remembered that, in talking with Sig- 
nora Roselli and her daughter about the serf- 

148 



SPRING FRESHETS 

law» which, according to his assertions, roused in 
him profound indignation, he had repeatedly as- 
sured them that he would never sell his serfs on 
any terms whatever, because he regarded sudi 
sale as an immoral act. 

" I shall endeavour to sell my estate to a man 
whom I shall know under a favourable aspect,"— 
he articulated, not without hesitation— "or, 
perhaps, the peasants themselves will like to 
buy it." 

" That is the best of all,"— assented Frau Le- 
nore. " If not, to sell live people . . . ." ''Bar- 
hart!** growled Pantaleone, who, following 
Smile's example, had made his appearance in the 
doorway, shook his top-knot, and vanished. 

"It's a bad businessl"— thought Sdnin to 
himself— and shot a stealthy glance at Gemma. 
She did not appear to have heard his last words. 
"Well, never mindl " he thought again. 

In this wise did the practical conversation con- 
tinue almost until dinner-time. Frau Lenore 
grew entirely tame toward the last— and had al- 
ready begun to call Sdnin " Dmitry," shook her 
finger affectionately at him, and promised to 
avenge herself for his craftiness. She asked a 
great many and minute questions about his native 
land, because "that, also, is very important,"— 
demanded, also, that he should describe to her the 
marriage ceremony, as the rite was celebrated in 
the Russian Church, and went into raptures in 



SPRING FRESHETS 

advance over Gemma in a white gown, with a 
golden crown on her head.^ 

" For my child is as beautiful as a queen,"-»- 
she said, with maternal pride; "" and there are no 
such kings in the world 1 " 

" There is no other Gemma in the worldd "— 
chimed in Sdnin. 

" Yes; that is why she is— Gemma 1 " (Every 
one knows that, in the Italian language, Gemma 
signifies "a precious stone— a jewel.") 

Gemma flew to kiss her mother. . . . It seemed 
as though only now had she begim to breathe 
freely— and the burden which oppressed her had 
fallen from her soul. 

And Sdnin, all of a sudden, felt so happy, sudi 
a childlike merriment filled his soul, because, lo, it 
had come to pass, those dreams to which he had 
surrendered himself, in those same rooms, had 
come to pass; his whole being leaped for joy to 
such a degree that he immediately betook himself 
to the shop; he was irrevocably bent upon serving 
behind the counter, at whatever cost, as he had 
done several days previously. ... As mudi as 
to say: " I have a full right to do it nowl for I *m 
a domestic man now! " 

And he really did stand behind the counter, 
and really did trade, that is to say, he sold td two 
little girls who entered a pound of candy, instead 

1 Golden (gilded) crowns are held over the heads of the bride 
and groom during the marriage ceremony prq>er, which is called 
" crowning.**— TtAKBLAToa. 

cU4 



SPBJNG freshets; 

of which he dealt them out at lea^t two pounds, 
and took only half price from them. At dinner, 
as a betrothed bridegroom, he officially occupied 
a seat next to Gemma. Frau Lenpre pursued 
her practical calculations. £mile did nothing 
but laugh, and tea^e Sdnin to take him to Russia 
with him. It was decided that Sanin should 
set off at the end of a fortnight. Pantaleone 
alone presented a rather surly aspect, so that 
even Frau Lenore upbraided him.— "And yet 
thou wert his secondl"— Pantaleone looked 
askance. 

Gemma maintained silence nearly all the time, 
but never had her face been brighter or more 
beautifuL After dinner, she called Sanin apart 
into the garden for a moment, and halting beside 
the bench on which she had been sorting cherries 
two days before, she said to him:— "Do not be 
angry with me, Dimxtri; but I wish to remind 
thee, once more, that thou must not consider 
thyself boimd. ..." 

He did not allow her to finish her sentence. • . • 

G^Hmia turned aside her face.— "And as for 
what mamma alluded to— thou rememberest?— 
the difference of our religious creeds, so much for 
that!" . ... 

She seized a small garnet cross, which hung on 
her neck upon a slender cord, gave a violent 
wrendi, and broke the cord— and gave him the 
cross. 

145 



SPRING FRESHETS 

* "'If I am thine, then thy faith is my faitli 
alsol" 

Sanin's eyes were still wet when he and Gremma 
returned to the house. 

By the evening, everything had got into its 
wonted routine. They even played tresette. 

XXXI 

Sanin woke very early on tiie following day. 
He found himself on the very apex of human 
felicity; but that had not prevented his sleeping; 
the question, the vital, fatal question: how he 
should sell his estate as speedily as possible, and 
on the most profitable terms— disturbed his rest. 
Different plans crossed in his head, but as yet 
nothing had made itself clear. He left the house 
to get some air, to freshen himself. He wished 
to present himself to G^mma with a project al- 
ready prepared— not otherwise. 

What figure was that, decidedly heavy and 
thick-legged, but neatly clad, walking in front of 
him, swaying slightly from side to side and limp- 
ing? Where had he seen that nape, overgrown 
with tiunbled masses of fair hair, that head, which 
seemed to be set directly on the shoulders, that 
soft, fat back, those plump, dangling arms? 
Could it be— P61ozoff, his old boarding-school 
comrade, whom he had lost sight of for the last 
five years? Sdnin overtook the figure which was 

446 



SPRING FRESHETS 

walking in front of him, and turned round. . . • 
A broad, sallow face, tiny, pig-like blue eyes with 
white lashes and brows, a round, beardless chin — 
and that expression of the whole face, indolent 
and distrustful— yes, in point of fact, it was he, 
Ippolft P61ozoff. 

""Is my star acting again?"— flashed through 
Siuiin's thoughts. 

"P61ozoffI Ippoht Sidorovitchl Is it thou?" 

The figure halted, lifted its tiny eyes, waited a 
little, and unsealing its lips at last, said in a hoarse 
falsetto: 

"Dmitry Sdnin?" 

"The very samel"— cried Sdnin, and shook 
one of Polozoff's hands; dad in tight glace 
gloves, of an ash-grey hue, they hung, as before, 
lifeless down his fat hips.—" Hast thou been here 
long? Whence earnest thou? Where art thou 
staying?" 

"I came yesterday, from Wiesbaden,"— re- 
plied P61ozoff^ without haste,— "to make pur- 
diases for my wife— and am returning to Wies- 
baden to-day." 

" Akh, yesl thou art married— and, so I hear, 
to such a beauty I" 

Polozoff turned his eyes away.—" Yes, so they 
say." 

Sanin burst out laughing.— "I see that thou 
art still the same .... phlegmatic fellow as thou 
wert at school." 

147 



SPRING FRESHETS 

" Why should I change? " 

"And they say,"— added S&nin^ with special 
emphasis on the word "say,"— "that thy wife is 
very wealthy." 

" They do say that also." 

"And can it be that thou dost not know that 
thyself, Ippolft Sidoritch?" 

"I, brother Dmitry .... Pdvlovitch?— yes, 
Pdvlovitchl don't meddle with my wife's af- 
fairs." 

"Thou dost not meddle? Not with any af- 
fairs?" 

Again P61ozoff turned away his eyes.—" Not 
with any, my dear fellow. She— goes her way 
• • . . weU, and I go mine." 

"Whither art thou bound now?"— inquired 
Sdnin. 

"Nowhere, just at present; I'm standing in 
the street— and talking with thee; but when we 
get through, I shall go to a hotel— and break- 
fast." 

" With me as company —wilt thou? " 

" That is— thou art referring to breakfast?" : 

"Yes." 

"Pray do, it will be much jollier to eat to?- 
gether. Thou art not a chatterer, I believe? " : 

"I don't think so." 

"WeU, all right then." 

P61ozoff moved on. Sdnin walked beside him. 
And it occurred to Sdnin— P61ozoff's lips were 

14!8L 



6PBIN6 FRESHETS 

sealed once more, he puffed and waddled on in 
silence— it occurred to Sanin: how had that booby 
managed to hook a rich and beautiful wife? He 
himself was neither wealthy, nor distinguished, 
nor clever: in school he had borne the reputation 
of an indolent and stupid boy, and for his sleepi- 
ness and gluttony had borne the nickname of 
" the slobberer." Amazing ! 

" But if his wife is very rich— they say she is 
the daughter of some contractor— would n't 
she buy my estate? Although he says that he 
does not meddle with any of his wife's affairs, 
it is impossible to believe that I Moreover, 
I will name a moderate, advantageous price I 
Why not make the effort? Perhaps this is 
still my star in the ascendant. • • • Done I 
I'Utryl" 

Polozoff conducted Sdnin to one of the best 
hotels in Frankfurt, in which, of course, he al- 
ready occupied the best room. The tables and 
diairs were loaded down with bandboxes, boxes, 
bundles. . . . ''All purchases for Mdrya Niko- 
Uevna, my dear fellow 1 " (Ippolit Sidorovitch's 
wife was named M£rya Nikolievna.) P61ozoff 
sank into an easy-chair, groaned : " Ekh, how hot 
it is!" and untied his neckcloth. Then he rang 
for the head-waiter, and carefully ordered an 
extremely abundant breakfast. "And lejt the 
carriage be ready in an hour! Do you hear, in 
precisely an hour!" 

149 



SPRING FRESHETS 

The head-waiter bowed obsequiously— and 
withdrew in slavish fashion. 

FoloBoff unbuttoned his waistcoat. From the 
way in which he elevated his eyebrows, panted 
and wrinkled his nose, it could be seen that talk- 
ing would be a great burden to him, and that he 
was waiting, with some trepidation, to see 
whether Sanin would force him to wag his 
tongue, or would take upon himself the trouble 
of carrying on the conversation. 

Sdnin understood his friend's frame of mind, 
and consequently did not burden him with ques- 
tions; he confined himself to the most indispen- 
sable; he learned that he had been in the service 
for two years already— (" in the Uhlans 1 just so; 
he must look well, I should think, in that bob- 
tailed uniform 1") —had married three years pre- 
viously,- and this was the second year he had 
been abroad with his wife, '' who was now taking 
a cure for something or other in Wiesbaden "*— 
and then would set out for Paris. Sdnin, on his 
side, enlarged as little on his past life as on his 
plans; he went straight to the principal point- 
that is, he began to talk about his intention to 
sell his estate. 

P61ozoflr listened to him in silence, only cast- 
ing a glance, from time to time, at the door, 
whence breakfast must make its appearance. At 
last the breakfast did make its appearance. 

150 



SPRING FRESHETS 

The head-waiter, accompanied by two other 
servants, brought in sevieral dishes under silver 
covers. 

" Is the estate in the Tula government? "—said 
P61ofiBoff, as he seated himself at tiie table, and 
tucked a napkin into the collar of his idiirt. 

"Yes." 

•■ In the Ef r6m district. ... I know." 

"Dost thou know my Alexy^vko?" asked 
Sinin, as he also seated himself at the table. 

"Yes, of course I do."— P61ozoff stuffed a 
morsel of omelet with truffles into his mouth.— 
" Mdrya NikoUevna— my wife— has an estate in 
the neighbourhood .... uncork that bottle, 
waiter I The soil is fairly good— only, the peas- 
ants have felled thy forest And why art thou 
selling it?" 

" I need the money, my dear fellow. I would 
sell it dieap. Thou hadst better buy it ... by 
the way." 

P61ozoff gulped down a glass of wine, wiped 
his mouth with his napkin and again set to chew- 
ing—slowly and noisily. 

" H'm— yes,"— he said at last. " I 'm not buy- 
ing estates : I have no capital. Pass the butter. 
Perhaps my wife will buy it. Do thou talk it 
over with her. If thou dost not ask a great price 
^rfie does not disdain that sort of thing. . . . 
(But what asses these Germans arel They don't 

151 



SPRING FRESHETS 

know how to boil fish. What could be sunplet, 
apparently? And yet they say: * The Vaberland 
must be united 1 ' Waiter, take away this abomi* 
nation!" 

"Does thy wife really manage the property 
herself?" inquired S^nin. ^ 

" Yes. Here, these cutlets are good. I recom- 
mend them. I have already told thee, Dmftry 
Pavlovitch, that I don't meddle with any of my 
wife's affairs— and now I tell it to thee again." 

F61ozoff continued to munch. 

" H'm. . • . But how can I talk it over with 
her, IppoUt Sidoritch?" 

" Why, very sunply, Dmitry Fdvlovitdi. Go 
to Wiesbaden. It's not far from here. Waiter, 
haven't you any Euj^sh mustard? No? Beasts) 
Only, don't lose time. We are leaving the day 
after to-morrow. Permit me, I will fill your 
glass: the wine has a bouquet— 't is not sour 
stuff." 

P61ozoff 's face had grown animated and crim- 
son; it only grew animated when he ate • • • of 
drank. 

" Really, I don't know how I can do that,"— 
muttered Sanin. 

"But why are you in such a hurry, all of a 
sudden?" .. 

" That's it exactly, my dear fellow, I 'm in a 
hurry." 

" And is a large sum needed? " 

152 



SPRING FRESHETS 

"Yes. I . . . how shall I tell theel I am 
pfenning .... to get married." 

Polozoff set on the table his wine-glass, which 
he was in the act of raising to- his lips. 

" To get married? "—he said, in a hoarse voice 
—hoarse with surprise,— laying his fat hands on 
Ids belly.-" In such haste? " 
; " Yes ... very soon/' 

" The bride is in Russia, of course? " 

" No, she is not in Russia." 

"Where then?" 

"Here, in Frankfurt." 

" And who is she? " 

" A German ; that is to say, no— an Italian. A 
resident of this town." 

"With money?" 
. "Without money." 

" So love is very strcxig? " 

"How absurd thou artl Yes, it is strong." 

" And thou needest money for that? ** 

" Well, yes .... yes, yes." 

P61ozoff swallowed his wine, rinsed out his 
mouth, washed his hands, wiped them carefully 
on his napkin, pidled out and lighted a cigar. 
Sinin stared at him in silence. 

" There is one means,"— ^bellowed Polozoff at 
last, throwing back his head, and emitting a slen- 
det stream of smoke.—" Go to my wife. If she 
takes a fancy, she will disperse all thy difficulty 
offhand." 

138 



SPRING FRESHBTS 

"But how am I to see her, thy wife? Thou 
sayest that thou art leaving the day after to- 
morrow? " 

Polozoff closed his eyes. 

" See here, I '11 tell thee something,"— he said 
at last, twisting his dgar about in his lips, and 
heaving a sigh.— "G^o home, dress thyself with 
all speed— and come hither. In an hour I set out ; 
my carriage is roomy— I'll take thee with me. 
That 's the best way of alL But now I 'm going 
to have a nap. I must always have a nap after 
eating, my dear fellow. Nature demands it— 
and I do not resist. And do not thou disturb 
me. 

Sdnin pondered and pondered— and suddenly 
raised his head; he had come to a decision! 

" Well, very good, I accept— and I thank thee. 
At half -past twelve I will be here— and we wiU 
set out together for Wiesbaden. I hope thy wife 
will not be angry. ..." 

But P61ozoff was already snoring. He stam- 
mered: "Don't disturb me I "—waggled his legs, 
and fell asleep like an infant. 

Once more Sinin swept a glance over his 
portly figure, his head, neck, his highly-elevated 
chin as roimd as an apple— and, emerging from 
the hotel » . • he wended his way, with brisk 
strides, to the Roselli confectionery shop. He 
must forewarn Gemma. 



.154 



SPRING FRESHETS 



XXXII 

He found her in the shop, with her mother. 
Frau Lenore was bending over, and with a small 
folding foot-rule was measuring the space be- 
tween the windows. On catching sight of Sanin» 
die straight^ied up, and greeted him dieerily, yet 
not without some confusion. 

"Ever since your words of yesterday,"— she 
began,—" ideas have been coursing round in my 
head as to how we can improve our shop. Here, 
now, I think we might place two small cases with 
glass shelves; you know, that is the fashion now. 
And then, too. ..." 

" Very good, very good . . . . " Sdnin inter- 
rupted her.— "We must think over all that. 
• • . But come here, I have something to tell 
you." He slipped his arms into Frau Lenore's 
and Gemma's arms, and led tbem into the other 
room. Frau Lenore was alarmed, and dropped 
the foot-rule from her hand. Gemma was on 
the point of being alarmed also, but took a closer 
look at Sanin, and recovered her composure. His 
face was anxious, it is true, but it expressed, 
at the same time, animated courage luid decision. 

He begged the two women to sit down, and 
stood in front of them— and gesticulating with 
his hands, and ruffling up his hair, he told them 

155 



SPRING FRESHETS 

everything: his meeting with Polozoff, his pro- 
jected trip to Wiesbaden, the possibility of sell- 
ing his estate.— " Imagine my happiness,"— he 
exclaimed at last: "matters have taken such a 
turn that possibly I may not even be obliged ftp 
go to Russia I And we may celebrate the, wed- 
ding much sooner than I expected! " 

" When must you go ? "—asked Grcmma. 

" This very day —an hour hence ; my friend has 
hired a carriage— he will take me." 

"You will write to us?" 

"Immediately! as soon as I have had a talk 
with that lady— I will write instantly." 

"That lady is very rich, you say?"— asked 
practical Frau Lenore. 

"Extremely! her father was sir millionaire— 
and left her everything." 

" Everything— to her alone? Well— that 's 
lucky for youl Only, look out, don't cheapen 
your estate 1 Be sensible and firm. Don't get 
carried away! I understand your wish to be- 
come Gemma's husband as promptly as possible 
. . . . but caution, before all else! Don't forget 
that the more dearly you sell your estate, the more 
will remain for you two— and for your children." 

Gemma turned away, and Sanin began again 
to flouriidi his hands.—" You may feel assured of 
my cauticm, Frau Lenore! But I am not going 
to bargain. I will tell her the real price: if she 
will give it— good; if she will not -^I don't care." 

156 



SPRING FRESHETS 

"Are you acquainted with her— with that 
lady?" asked Gemma. 

" I have never set eyes on her.'* 

"And when shall you return?" 

"If our business comes to nothing— the day 
after to-morrow; but if all goes well, I may be 
obliged to stay an extra day or two. In any case, 
I shall not linger a single moment. For am 
not I leaving my soul behind me here? However, 
I have talked too long with you, and I must run 
home before I start. . • . Give me your hand 
for luck, Frau Lenore— we always do that in 
Russia." 

"The right or the left?" 

"The left— it is nearer the heart. ^ I will pre* 
sent myself the day after to-morrow— with my 
shield or on it! Something tells me I shall re- 
turn a victor 1 Good-bye, my kind, my dear . . . 
ones* . . • 

He embraced and kissed Frau Lenore, but 
asked G^mma to come into her room with him 
—for a moment— he must communicate to her 
something very important. He simply wished to 
take leave of her in private. Frau Lenore un- 
derstood this— and did not ^eek to learn what 
that very important thing was. . . . 

Never before had Sanin been in Gemma's 
diamber. All the enchantment of love, all its 
fire, and rapture, and sweet dread— fairly flamed 
up within him, and forced its way into his soul. 



SPRING FRESHETS 

as soon as he crossed that sacred threshold. . . . 
He cast a glance of emotion round about him, fell 
at the feet of the dear girl, and pressed his face 
to her form .... 

"Thou art mine?"— she whispered— "thou 
wilt return soon? " 

"I am thine. ... I will return,"— he re- 
peated, sighing. 

" I will wait for thee, my dear one 1 " 

A few moments later, Sinin was running 
along the street to his quarters. He did not even 
notice that Pantaleone had sprung out of the 
door of the confectionery shop after him, all 
dishevelled— and shouted something at him, and 
shook his hand, raised high aloft, and, seemingly, 
menaced him with it. 

Precisely at a quarter to one, Sanin presented 
himself to Polozoff . The carriage was already 
standing at the gate of his hotel, with four horses 
harnessed to it. And catching sight of Sinin, 
Polozoff merely said: " Ahl he has made up his 
mind? " and donning his hat, cloak and overshoes, 
and stuffing cotton in his ears although it was 
summer, he Came out on the steps. The waiters, 
at his command, arranged all his numerous pur- 
chases inside the carriage, encircled the place 
where he Was to sit with silken cushions, little 
bags, parcels, placed at his feet a box of pro- 
visions and tied his trunk to the coachman's seat. 

158 



SPRING FRESHETS 

FolozofT paid his reckoning with a lavish hand^ 
—and although he was hoisted from behind, but 
respectf uUy, by the officious door-porter, he clam- 
bered, grunting, into the carriage, took his seat, 
stirred up everything around him thoroughly, se- 
lected and lighted a cigar— and only then did he 
beckon to Sanin with his finger, as much as to 
say: " Get in also, thoul" Sanin seated himself 
by his side. Polozoff , through the door-porter, 
ordered the postilion to drive properly, if he 
wished to get drink-money; the carriage steps 
rattled, the door slammed, the carriage rolled off. 

XXXIII 

From Frankfurt to Wiesbaden nowadays, by 
the railway, is less than an hour's journey; at 
that time, the extra-post managed to reach it in 
three hours.. The horses were changed five times. 
P61ozoff partly dozed, partly swayed about, 
holding his cigar in his teeth, and talked very 
little; he never once looked out of the window: 
he took no interest in picturesque views, and eVen 
announced that— "nature was death to himl" 
Sdnin also maintained silence, and also failed to 
admire the views: he was not in a mood for that. 
He surrendered himself wholly to meditations, 
memories. At the posting-stations, Polozoff 
paid accurately, took note of the time by his 
watch, and rewarded the postilions— with little 

159 



SPRING FRESHETS 

or mudi— according to their zeal. At the middle 
of the journey, he took two oranges from the box 
of eatables, and, having chosen the best, he of"> 
fered the other to Sanin. Sinin gazed intently 
at his fellow-traveller, and suddenly burst out 
laughing. 

" What art thou laughing at? "—asked the lat- 
ter, carefully peeling the skin from the orange 
with his short, white nails. 

".What am I laughing at?"— repeated Sanin. 
— " Why, at our journey." 

" What of it? "—queried P61ozoff, in his turn, 
dropping into his mouth, one after another, the 
oblong portions into which the meat of an orange 
divides. 

" It 's very queer. Yesterday, I must confess^ 
I was thinking as little of thee as of the Emperor 
of China,— and to-day I am driving with thee, to 
sell my property to thy wife, of whom I have not 
the slightest conception." 

"All sorts of things happen,"— replied P61o- 
zoff. " If thou only livest long enough,— thou 
wilt see every sort of thing. For instance, canst 
thou imagine me riding as an orderly*officer? 
But I have; and the Grand Duke Mikhail Pdy- 
lovitch gave the command: *At a trot, that fat 
comet is to ride at a trot I Hasten thy trotl ' " 

Sdnin scratched behind his ear. 

•''Tell me, please, Ippolft Sidoritch, what is 
thy wife like? What sort of disposition has 

160 



SPRING FRESHETS 

she? For it is necessary that I should know, you 
se^." 

" It was all well enough for him to command: 
* At a trotl ' "—interposed Polozoff, with sudden 
vehemence,— "but me, how about me? And I 
thought: * Take your ranks and epaulets to your- 
self, I don't want theml' Yes . . . thou wert 
asking about my wife? What 's my wife like? 
—A human being, like everybody else. Don't 
stir her up— she doesn't like that. The chief 
thing is— talk as much as possible .... let 
there be something to laugh at. Tell about your 
love, for instance • • . and as amusingly as pos- 
sible, you know." 

"What dost thou mean by 'as amusingly as 
possible'?" 

" Why, just that. For thou hast told me that 
thou art in love, that thou wishest to marry. 
Well, then, describe it." 

Sanin took offence.— "What dost thou find 
ridiculous in that? " 

Polozoff merely rolled his eyes about. The 
juice from the orange was trickling down his 
chin. 

" Was it thy wife who sent thee to Frankfurt 
to make purchases?"— asked Sdnin a little while 
later. 

" She herself." 

" What were those purchases? *' 

" Toys, of course." 

161 



SPRING FRESHETS 

" Toys? hast thou children? " 

P61ozoff even drew away from Sanin.— "The 
idea! Why should I have any children? Femi- 
nine gewgaws. . . . Finery^ In the department 
of the toilet;' 

" Art thou really an expert in that line? " 
1 am. 

"But didst not thou tell me that thou didst 
not meddle with any of thy wife's affairs? " 

"I don't meddk with anything else. But 
this . . . does n't count. Out of tedium— I 
may do that. And moreover, my wife has 
confidence in my taste. And I 'm keen at bar- 
gaining." 

P61ozoff began to talk brokenly: he was al- 
ready fatigued. 

" And is thy wife very rich? " 

" Yes, she 's rich. Only, chiefly for herself." 

" But, apparently, thou hast no cause for com- 
plaint?" 

" That 's why I 'm her husband. The idea of 
my not getting the good of it 1 And I 'm a useful 
man to her: she finds it an advantage to have 
me 1 I 'm— convenient ! " 

Polozofi^ wiped his face with a silk handker- 
chief, and panted heavily; as much as to say: 
" Spare me; don't make me utter any more words. 
Thou seest how diflicult it is for me." 

Sanin left him in peace— and again plunged 
into meditation. 

JL62 



SPRING FRESHETS 

The hotel in Wiesbaden before which the car- 
riage drew up smacked of a regular pakce. Lit- 
tle bells immediately began to jingle in its lieptibs, 
a bustle and running to and fro arose; comely 
men, in black dress-suits, ran to the chief en- 
trance; a door-porter, shimmering with gold, 
threw open the carriage-door with a flourii^. 

Polozoff alighted like some conqueror, and be- 
gan to ascend the staircase, all spread with car- 
pet, and perfumed. A man, also capitally-well- 
dressed, but with a Russian face, flew to meet him 
—his valet. Polozoff remarked to him that 
henceforth he should always take him with him, 
—for on the day before, in Frankfurt, he, P61o- 
zoff, had been left for the night without warm 
water 1 The valet depicted horror on his counte- 
nance—and, bending alertly down, he removed 
his master's overshoes. 

" Is MArya Nikolaevna at home? "—asked Po- 
lozoff. 

''Yes, sir. She is dressing. She is going to 
dine at Countess Lasunsky's." 

" Ah 1 with that .... Stayl There are things 
yonder in the carriage; take everything out thy- 
aelf , and bring them in. And do thou, Dmitry 
Pdvlovitch,"— added Polozoff,—" engage a room 
for thyself, and come to me in three quarters of 
an hour. We will dine together." 

P61ozoff went his way, and Sanin asked for 
the plainest room they had; and having ad- 

168 . 



SPRING FRESHETS 

justed his toilet, and rested a little, he betook 
himself to the vast suite of rooms occupied by hm 
Transparency (Durchlaudit), Prince von P61o- 
roff- 

He found that '' prince " seated in a sumptuous 
velvet arm-chair, in the middle of the most ma^ 
nificent sort of a salon. Sdnin's phlegmatic friend 
had already managed to take a bath, and array 
himself in the richest of satin dressing-gowns; on 
his head he had set a crimson fez. Sanin ad* 
vanced to him, and surveyed him for a while. 
P61ozoff was sitting motionless as an idol; he did 
not even turn his face to one side, he did not even 
nH)ve an eyebrow, he did not emit a sound. The 
spectacle was, in very truth, majestic 1 After 
having admired him for a couple of minutes, SA- 
nin was on the point of speaking, of breaking 
that sacred silence— when suddenly the door 
from an adjoining room opened, and on the 
threshold appeared a young, handsome lady, in a 
white silk gown trimmed with black lace, with 
diamonds on her arms and on her neck— Mirya 
Nikoldevna P61ozoff in person! Her thick, 
ruddy-gold hair fell on botii sides of her head- 
in tresses which were plaited but not pinned up. 

XXXIV 

** Akh, pardon me!"— she said, with a half -con- 
fused, half -mocking smile, instantly seizing the 

194 



SPRING FRESHETS 

end of one plait in her hand, and riveting her 
large, brilliant grey eyes on SAnin.— " I did not 
think you had come yet." 

" Sinin, Dmitry Pdvloviteh, the friend of my 
childhood," said P61ozoff , as before— not turning 
toward him, and not rising, but pointing at him 
with his finger. 

"Yes, I know. . . . Thou hast already told 
me. I am very glad to make your acquaintance. 
But I wanted to ask thee, Ippolit Sidoritch. • • • 
My maid is rather stupid to-day . . . . " 

"To pin up thy hair?" 

"Yes, yes, please. Excuse me,"— repeated 
Mdrya Nikolaevna, with her former smile, 
nodding her head at Sdnin, and wheeling swiftly 
round, disappeared through the door, leaving be- 
hind her a fleeting but stately impression of a 
cfamrming neck, wonderful shoulders, a wonder- 
ful figure. 

P61ozofi^ rose, and waddling cumbrously, 
passed through the same door. 

Sdnin did not, for one moment, doubt that his 
presence in "Prince P61ozoff's" drawing-room 
was known to its mistress; the whole trick lay 
in displaying her hair, which really was fine. 
Sdnin even inwardly rejoiced at this prank on 
Madame P61ozoff's part: " If she wanted to as- 
tound me," he said to himself, "to shine in my 
presence— perhaps, who knows? she will be 
yielding in the matter of the price of my estate." 

105 



SPRING FRESHETS 

His soul was so filled with Gremma that all other 
women possessed no significance whatever for 
him: he hardly noticed them; and an this occasion 
he confined himself to thinking: " Yes, I was told 
the truth: she is a lady of the first quality!" 

But had he not been in sudi an excepticmal 
spiritual condition, he wotdd, in all probability, 
have expressed himself differently: M^rya Ni- 
koldevna P61ozoff, bom Kol^kin, was a very 
. remarkable person. Not that she was an acknow- 
ledged beauty: the traces of her plebeian origin 
were even quite distinctly visible. Her brow 
was low, her nose somewhat fleshy and turned up, 
she could boast neither delicacy of complexion, 
nor elegance of hands and feet— but what did all 
that matter? Not before " a goddess of beauty/' 
as Pushkin says, would any one pause who ittet 
her, but before the powerful witchery of a bloom- 
ing feminine body, not exactly Russian, nor yet 
exactly Gipsy .... and he would not have 
paused involuntarily! 

But Gremma's image protected Sdnin, like that 
triple armour of whidi the poets sing. 

Ten minutes later, Marya Nikoldevna made 
her appearance again, accompanied by her 
spouse. She went up to Sanin . • • and her 
walk was such that some eccentric persons, in 
those, alasl already distant days, would have 
gone out of their minds at that walk alone. 
"That woman, when she comes toward thee, 

166 



SPRING FRESHETS 

seems to be bringing the whole happiness of thy 
Kfe to meet thee,"— one of them was wont to say. 
She walked up to Sdnin, offered him her hand, 
said in her caressing and, as it were, repressed 
voice, in Russian: "You will wait for me, will 
you not? I shall return soon.'* 

Sdnin bowed respectfully, and Marya Niko- 
Idevna disappeared behind Uie portiere of the en-^ 
trance door— and, as she vanished, turned her 
head back, over her shoulder,— and smiled again, 
and again left behind her a harmonious impres*- 
sion, as before. 

When she smiled— not one, not two, but three 
dimples made their appearance on each cheek— 
and her eyes smiled more than her lips, than her 
long, rosy, luscious lips, with two tiny moles on 
the left side. 

Polozoff lumbered into the room,— and again 
placed himself in the easy-chair. He preserved 
silence, as before; but a strange grin distended, 
from time to time, his colourless and already 
wrinkled cheeks. 

He looked like an old man, although he was 
only three years older than Sanin. 

The dinner to which he treated his guest 
would, of course, have satisfied the most exact- 
ing gastronomist, but to Sanin it appeared in- 
terminable, intolerable! Polozoff ate slowly, 
" with feeling, with understanding, with pauses," 
bending attentively over his plate, sniffing at al- 

167 



SPRING FRESHETS 

most every morsel: first he would rinse out his 
mouth with wine, and then swallow and smack 
his lips. . . And after the roast, he suddenly be- 
gan to talk— but about what? About merino 
sheep, a whole flock of which he was intending to 
import, and in such detail, using constantly di- 
minutive nouns, with such tenderness 1 After 
drinking a cup of boiling hot coffee,— (he had 
several times reminded the waiter, in a tearfully- 
irritated voice, that he had been served on the 
previous evening with cold coffee— cold as icel) — 
and having bitten off the tip of a Havana cigar 
with his yellow, crooked teeth— he relapsed into 
a doze, after his custom, to the great joy of SA- 
nin, who began to walk back and forth, with in- 
audible footsteps, on the soft carpet— and 
dream about how he would live with Gemma, 
and with what news he should retiuii to her. P6- 
lozoff , however, awoke earlier than usual, accord- 
ing to his own statement,— he had slept only an 
hour and a half,— and having drunk a glass of 
iced seltzer water, and swallowed about eight 
spoonfuls of preserves, Russian preserves, which 
his valet brought to him in a dark-green, genuine 
"Kfeff "* glass jar, and without which, as he said, 
he could not exist— he fixed his puffy eyes on 
Sdnin and asked him whether he would not like 
to play at "fool" with him?^ Sdnin gladly as- 

*Thc preserves made in Kfeff are famous.— Tianslatcnl 
'A very simple card game.— Teanslatcnl 

168 



SPRING FRESHETS 

sented; he was afraid that Polozoff might begin 
to talk about the rams again, and about ewe 
lambs, and nice little fat sheep-tails. Host and 
guest went into the drawing-room, the waiter 
brought cards,— and the game began, not for 
money, as a matter of course. 

Marya Nikolaevna found them at this inno- 
cent diversion, when she returned from Countess 
Lasiinsky's. 

She laughed aloud, as soon as she entered the 
room, and caught sight of the cards, and the out- 
spread Vomhre table. Sanin sprang up from his 
seat, but she exclaimed: " Sit down, go on play- 
ing.— I will change my gown, and return to you " 
—and again vanished, rustling her dress, and 
drawing off her gloves as she went. 

She did, in fact, return very soon. She had 
changed her festive array for a full, loose silk 
gown, of lilac hue, with open, hanging sleeves; a 
thick, twisted cord encircled her waist. She 
seated herself beside her husband,— and waiting 
until he had been beaten, she said to him: " Come, 
Puffy, that will doI"-(at the word "Puffy," 
Sinin cast a glance of surprise at her — and she 
smiled back gaily, answering his glance with a 
glance, and displaying all the dimples in her 
cheeks)— "that will do; I see that thou art 
sleepy; kiss my hand, and go to bed; Mr. Sanin 
and I will chat together." 

" I 'm not sleepy,"— said Polozoff, rising lum- 

160 



SPRING FRESHETS 

beringly from his chair,—" but as for going to bed 
—I '11 go, and I '11 kiss thy hand." She offered 
him her palm, without ceasing to smile and to 
glance at Sanin. 

Polozoff also glanced at him— and went off, 
without saying good night. 

"Come, tell me your story, tell me,"— said 
Marya Nikoldevna with animation, placing both 
bare elbows simultaneously on the table, and im- 
patiently tapping the nails of one hand against 
the nails of the other.—" Are you really going to 
be married, as I am told? " 

As she uttered these words, Mdrya Nikolaevna 
even inclined her head a little on one side, in order 
that she might look Sdnin the more intently and 
keenly in the eye. 

XXXV 

Madame Polozoff's free and easy behaviour 
would, in all probability, have disconcerted Sdnin 
at first— although he was no novice, and had al- 
ready rubbed up against people— if in that very 
freedom and familiarity he had not discerned 
another good omen for his enterprise. " I '11 hu- 
mour the caprices of this wealthy lady,"— he de- 
cided in his own mind,— and answered her with 
an unconstraint equal to that with which she had 
put the question:— "Yes, I'm going to be mar- 
ried." 

J70 



SPRING FRESHETS 

"To whom? To a foreigner?" 

"Yes." 

" You have not known her long? In Frank- 
furt?" 

" Exactly so." 

" And who is she? May one inquire? " 

" One may. She is the daughter of a confec- 
tioner." 

Marya Nikolaevna opened her eyes very 
widely, and elevated her brows. 

"Why, that is delightful,"— she said in a 
drawling tone— "that's splendid 1 I had sup- 
posed that there were no longer any such young 
men as you in the world. The daughter of a con- 
fectioner!" 

"I see that that surprises you,"— remarked 
Sdnin, not without dignity; "but, in the first 
place, I have none of those prejudices . . . . " 

^^ In the first place, that does not surprise me 
in the least,"— interrupted Mdrya Nikolaevna— 
" I have no prejudices either. I myself am the 
daughter of a peasant. Hey? What do you 
think of that? I am surprised and delighted that 
here is a man who is not afraid to love. For you 
do love her, I suppose? " 

"Yes." 

" Is she very handsome? " 

Sanin winced a little at this last question. • • • 
However, there was no drawing back now. 

"You know, Marya Nikolaevna^"— he began 

171 



SPRING FRESHETS 

— " that to every man the face of his beloved ap- 
pears superior to all others; but my bride is a 
genuine beauty." 

"Really? In what style? the Italian? the an- 
tique?" 

" Yes; she has very regular features." 

" Have you her portrait with you? " 

"Nol" (At that date, there was no idea of 
such a thing as photographs. Daguerreotypes 
had hardly begun to be generally known.) 

"What is her name?" 

" Her name is— Gemma." 

" And what is yours? " 

"Dmitry." 

"And your patronymic?" 

"Pivlovitch." 

"Do you know,"— said Marya Nikolievna, 
still in the same drawling tone,—" I like you very 
much, Dmitry Pavlovitch. You must be a fine 
man. Come, give me your hand. Let us be 
friends." 

She pressed his hand warmly, with her 
faeautifid, white, strong fingers. Her hand 
was somewhat smaller than his— but much 
warmer and smoother, and softer and more 
feminine. 

" Only, do you know what has come into my 
head?" 

"What?" 

"You will not be angry? No? She is your 
172 



SPRING FRESHETS 

betrothed bride, you say. But is that • ... Is 
that imperatively necessary?" 

Sanin frowned.— "I do not understand you, 
Mdrya Nikolaevna." 

Mirya Nikolaevna broke into a soft laugh-^ 
and shaking her head, she tossed back her hair, 
which had fallen over her face.— "Positively — 
he is charming,"— she said, in a half -thoughtful, 
half -absent-minded way.— "A knight! After 
that, just believe, if you will, the people who 
assert that all the idealists have died out!" 

M^rya Nikolaevna, all this while, had been 
talking Russian in a wonderfully-pure, genuine 
Moscow language— of a popular, not a noble 
cast. 

" You certainly must have been reared at home, 
in an old-fashioned. God-fearing family? To 
what government do you belong? " 

"Tula." 

"Well! then we are pigs of the same trough. 
My father. ... Of course, you know who my 
father was? " 

"Yes, I know." 
. " He was born in Tula. . . He was a Tula 
man. Well*, very good." (MArya NikolAevna 
pronounced that "very good" in petty-burgher 
fashion, with deliberate intent— thus: 'kher^ 
ihdo.) * " Well, now let 's get to business." 

'Hie usual pronunciation would be khoro9h6^wi\h the first 
two o'i resembling a'«.— TtAKSukTos. 

178 



SPRING FRESHETS 



a 1 



That is . • . what do you mean by gettmg 
to business? What are you pleased to designate 
by that?*' 

Mirya • NikoWevna narrowed her eyes.— 
"Why, what did you come hither for?" (When 
she narrowed her eyes, their expression became 
very caressing and somewhat mocking; but when 
she opened them to their full extent, in their 
brilliant, almost chilly gleam, there shone forth 
something evil .... something menacing. Es- 
pecial beauty was imparted to her eyes by her eye- 
brows, which were thick, rather close" together, 
genuine sable brows.) " Do you wish me to buy 
your estate ? You need money for your wedding? 
Is n*t that the case? " 

" Yes, I do need money." 

" And do you require much? " 

" For my first needs, I might content myself 
with a few thousand francs. Your husband is 
acquainted with my estate. You might consult 
with him,— and I would ask a low price." 

Mirya Nikolaevna moved her head to \he right 
and to the left— '^ In— the— first— place/^ she 
began, pausing between her words, tapping the 
flaps of S^nin's coat with her fingerid— " I am not 
accustomed to consult my husband, unless it be in 
regard to my toilet— he *s a fine hand at that; 
and, in— the —second— place, why do you say 
that you would set a low price on it? I do not 
wish to take advantage of the fact that you are in 

174 



SPRING FKJBSHETS 

lore, and ready to make any sacrifice. ... I will 
accept no sacrifices from you. How would this 
do? Instead of encouraging . . • well, how can 
I best express it? noble sentiments in you, I am 
to strip you bare as a linden-tree, am I?^ That 
is not my habit. When it so happens, I do not 
spare people— only, it is not in that way." 

Sinin could in no wise understand whether she 
was laughing at him, or talking seriously, and 
merely thought to himself: " Oh, yes^ one must be 
<m the alert with thee! " 

A servant entered with a Russian samovar, a 
tea-service, cream, rusks, and so forth, and a 
large tray, set out all these blessings on the table 
between S4nin and Madame PdlozofiT,— and 
withdrew. 

She poured him out a cup of tea.—" You will 
not disdain it?"— she asked, dropping the sugar 
into the cup with her fingers, although th^ 
sugar-tongs lay there at hand. 

" Grood gracious, no! . . . From such a lovely 
hand ..." 

He did not finish the phrase, and almost choked 
himself with a mouthful of tea, while she gazed 
attentively and brightly at him. 

** I mentioned a Ipw price for my estate,"— he 
went on,— "because, as you are now abroad, I 

^ The linden is stripped of its tiark to make plaited peasant-slip- 
,perta batb-sponges, and mat-sacks— corresponding to burlaps— In 
wliidi everything from cherries to sheet-iron is wrapped.— 'nuNS- 

LATO*. 



SPRING FRESHETS 

cannbt assume that you have much ready cash^ 
and, in conclusion, I feel myself that the sale 
. • • or purchase of an estate, under such condl-^ 
tions— is something abnormal, and that I ought 
to take that into consideration." 

S^nin became confused, and lost his head, but 
M^rya Nikolievna leaned back quietly against 
the back of her chair, crossed her arms, and gazed 
at him with the same intent and brilliant glance 
as before. At last, he ceased speaking. 

"Never mind; go on, go on talking,"— she 
said, as though coming to his assistance: " I am 
listening to you— I find it agreeable to listen to 
you; speak on." 

S^nin began to describe his estate, the number 
of desyatinas ^ it contained, where it was situated, 
and what profits could be derived from it . • • • 
he even alluded to the picturesque location of the 
manoir*house; and M^rya NikoMevna gazed and 
gazed at him, with ever-increasing brightness and 
ihtentness, and her lips moved slightly, without 
a smile: she was biting them. He felt awkward, 
at last; he relapsed into silence for the second 
time. 

"Dmftry Pivlovitch," began Mdrya NikoU- 
evna— and grew pensive. ... "Dmitry 'Piv- 
lovitch,**— she repeated.— " See here: I am con- 
vinced that the purchase of your estate would be 
a very profitable affair for me, and that we shall 

* A d€$yatina is 9.70 acres.— Tkakslatob. 



SPRING FRESHETS 

oome to an agreement; but you must give me two 
days, — yes, two days' grace* You can bear sep- 
aration from your betrothed for a couple of days, 
I suppose? I will not detain you longer, against 
your will— I give you my word of honour. But if 
you now need five or six thousand francs, I am 
ready to lend them to you, with great pleasure— 
and we will settle the account later on." 

Sanin rose.— "I must thank you, Marya Ni- 
kolaevna, for your kind and amiable readiness to 
be of service to a man who is almost a stranger 
to you. . . • But if you imperatively insist, then 
I prefer to await your decision as to my estate— 
I will remain here two days." 

"Yes; I do, Dmitry Pdvlovitch. And will it 
be very oppressive for you? Very? Tell me." 

" I love my betrothed, Marya Nikolaevna— it 
is not easy for me to be parted from her." 

" Akh, you man of gold! "—ejaculated Mdrya 
Nikoldevna with a sigh. " I promise not to 
weary you too much. Are you going? " 

" It is late,"— remarked Sdnin. 

" And you must rest after the journey— and 
from the game at 'fool' with my husband 
Tell me~are you and Ippolit Sfdocitdi» my hus- 
band, great friends ? " 

" We were brought up in the same boarding- 
school." 

" And was he like that then ? " 

" Like what? "—inquired S^min. 

1T7 



SPRING FRESHETS 

Maiya Nikoldevna suddenly burst out laugii* 
ing, and laughed until her wlK>le face was dim* 
scm, raised her handkerchief to her lips, rose from 
her chair,— and swaying, as with fatigue, she 
advanced to S^nin, and offered him her hand. 
He bowed— and went toward the doon 
" Be so good as to present yourself very early 
to-morrow,— do you hear?"— she called after 
him. He glanced back, as he quitted the room— 
and perceived that she had dropped into her arm-- 
chair once more, and had thrown both arms be- 
hind her head. The wide sleeves of her wrapper 
fell back almost to her shoulders— and it was im* 
possible not to acknowledge that the pose of 
those arms, that whole figure, was enchantingly 
beautiful. 

XXXVI 

The lamp in Sdnin's room burned long after 
midnight. He sat at his table, writing to ""his 
Gemma." He told her everything; he described 
to her tlie P61ozoffs— husband and wife— but en- 
larged diiefly on his own feelings,— and ended 
by appointing a tryst three days hence 1 ! 1 (witib 
three exclamation points). Early in the morn- 
ing, he took that letter to the post, and went for 
a stroll in the garden of the Kurhaus, where the 
music was already playing. There were few 
people as yet; he stood for a while in front of the 

178 



SPRING FRESHETS 

arbour in which the orchestra was located, listened 
to a potpourri from "Robert le Diable,"— and 
after drinking coffee, he betook himself to a 
lonely side-alley, sat down on a bendi,— and fell 
into thought. 

The handle of a parasol tapped him briskly— 
and rather vehemently— on the shoulder. He 
started. ... In front of him, in a light-green 
barege gown, a white tulle hat, and suMe gloves, 
fresh and rosy as a summer morning, but with the 
softness of untroubled slumber not yet vanishied 
from her movements and her glance, stood Mirya 
Nikolaevna. 

" Good morning," said she. " I sent for you 
this morning, but you had already gone out. I 
have only just drunk my second glass— they 
make me drink the water here, you know— God 
knows why ... am not I well? And so I must 
walk for a whole hour. Will you be my com- 
panion? And then we will drink coffee." 

"I have already drunk mine,"— said S^nin, 
rising; ''but I shall be very glad to walk with 
you." 

" Well, then give me your arm. . . . Have no 
fear; your betrothed is not here— she will not see 
you." 

Sinin smiled constrainedly. He experienced 
an unpleasant sensation every time that Mirya 
NikoUevna mentioned Gemma. Nevertheless, 
he bowed hastily and obediently . . . ^ Marya 

179 



SPRING FRESHETS 

Nikolaevna's arm sank slowly and softly on his 
fum,— and slid along it, and, as it were, clung 
to it. 

" Let us go in this direction,"— she said to him> 
throwing her open parasol over her shoulder. 
'' I am quite at home in this park: I will lead you 
to the pretty spots. And do you know what (she 
frequently used these words)— "you and I will 
not talk about that purchase now; we will discuss 
it thoroughly after breakfast; but now you must 
tell me about yourself . . . that I may know 
with whom I am dealing. And afterward, if you 
like, I will tell you about myself. Do you 
agree? V 

"But, M^rya Nikolaevna, what interest can 
you take • . . . " 

. "Stop, stop. You did not understand me 
rightly. I do not wish to flirt with you."— 
Mary a Nikolaevna shrugged her shoulders.— 
" He has a bride like an antique statue, and I will 
flirt with him! But you have wares— and I am a 
merchant. And I want to know what wares you 
have. Come, then, show what they are likel I 
want to know, not only what I am buying, but 
the person from whom I am buying. That was 
my father's rule. Come, begin. . . Well, if not 
with your diilAood— here now— have you been 
long abroad? And where have you been up to 
the present time? Only, walk more slowly— 
there is no need for us to hurry." 

180 



SPRING FRESHETS 

" I came hither from Italy, where I spent sev- 
eral months." 

" And everything Italian has, evidently, a spe- 
cial attraction for you? 'Tis strange that you 
did not find the object of your affections there. 
Are you fond of art? of pictures? or are you 
more fond of music? " 

. . " I am fond of art. • . • And I love all that is 
beautiful." 

"And music?" 

" And music also." 

"And I don't love it at all. Only Russian 
fiongs please me— and that in the country, in 
gpring— with dancing, you know. . . . Red cot- 
ton gowns, pearl fringes on the headdresses, the 
young grass in the pastures, an odour of smoke 
« . . splendid! But the question is not of me. 
Speak, narrate." 

M^rya Nikoldevna rambled on, and kept 
glancing at Sanin. She was tall— her face came 
almost on a level with his face. 

He began to narrate— at first reluctantly, 
bunglingly— but afterward he talked a great 
deal, even chattered. Marya Nikolaevna listened 
in a very clever way; and moreover, she appeared 
to be so frank herself that she involuntarily 
evoked frankness in others. She possessed that 
great gift of "familiarity"— ie terrible don 
de la famiUarite,—io which Cardinal Retz al- 
ludes. Sanin talked about his travels, bis so- 

.181 



SPRING FRESHETS 

journ in Petersburg, his youth. . • • Had Marya 
Nikolaevna been a fashionable lady, with refined 
manners, he never would have let himself go like 
that; but she called herself "a good fellow, who 
would not tolerate any ceremony"; those were 
precisely the words in which she described herself 
to S^nin. And, at the same time, the "" good f el« 
low" walked beside him with a catlike tread, 
slightly leaning toward him, and gazing up into 
his face;— and in the form of a young person of 
the female sex, from whom emanated that intoxi- 
cating and languorous, quiet and burning seduc- 
tion, wherewith certain Slavonic natures— and 
those not the pure ones, but with the proper ad* 
mixture— are able to torment us weak, sinful 
menl 

Sanin's stroll with Mdrya Nikolaevna, Sinin's 
chat with Marya Nikolaevna, lasted more than 
an hour. And never once did they halt; they 
kept on walking, walking along the endless alleys 
of the park, now ascending a hill, and admiring 
the view, now descending into a valley, and hid- 
ing themselves in impenetrable shadow— and all 
the time arm in arm. At intervals, Sanin even 
felt vexed with himself: never had he walked so 
long with Gemma, his dear Genuna .... and 
here, this lady had simply taken possession of 
him — and that was all there was to sayl — 
"Aren't you tired?"— he asked her once.— "I 
am never tired,"— she replied. Once in a whiles 

182 



SPRING FRESHETS 

they met. other ramblers; ahnost all of them 
bowed to her,— some respectfully, others even 
with servility. To one of them, a very handsome, 
foppishly attired dark-haired man, she called 
from a distance, in the very best Parisian accent : 
'' Camte, vous Mvez, il ne faut pas venir me xxnr 
--rU aujourd'hui, ni denudn/' The man doffed 
his hat, in silence, and made her a profomid 
salute. 

''Who is that?"— asked Sinin, in accordance 
with the bad habit peculiar to all Russians, '' ask- 
ing curious questions." 

**That? A Frenchman— there are a lot of 
them roaming about here. • • . He . • • also 
is an admirer of mine. But it is time to drink 
coffee. Let us go hcHne; I think you must be 
starved by this time. My hubby ^ must have got 
his peepers opened by now." 

"Hubby! peepers!" Sdnin repeated to him- 
self. . . • '' And she speaks French so capitally. 
. . . What a queer person 1" 

MAeta Nikolaevna was not mistaken. When 
she and Sdnin reached the hotel,— her "hubby" 
or "Puffy" was already seated, with his inevi- 
table fez on his head, at a table spread for 
breakfast. 
"IVe been waiting for thee this long time!" 

'Untranslatable. LiteraUy, «*My orthodox 
beUeTer.'''-TKANiiAT9a. 

188 



SPRING FRESHETS 

he exclaimed^ with a soiir visage. "I was jurt 
'. about to drink coffee without thee." 

"Never mind, never mind/' —: responded 
M^rya Nikoldevna gaily.— "Art thou angry? 
That 's healthy for thee: otherwise, thou wouldst 
eongeal altogether. Here, I have brought a 
giiest. Ring at oncel Let me drink coffee— the 
very best coffee— in Saxony cups, on a snow- 
white table-cloth 1 " 

She threw off her hat, her gloves, and clapped 
her hands. P61ozoff darted a sidelong glance at 
her. 

" What made you gallop about so long to-day, 
Mdrya Nikoliievna? "—he said, in an undertone. 

" That 's ha affair of yours, Ippolit Sidoritchl 
Ring the belli Sit down, Dmitry Pdvlovitch— 
and drink coffee for the second time! Akhl how 
jolly it is to give orders 1 There is no other plea- 
sure on earth!" 

"When people obey,"— grovTled her husband 
again. 

" Precisely, when people obey I That 's why I 
&id it jolly: Especially with thee. Is n't that so. 
Puffy? And here comes the coffee." 

On the huge tray with which the waiter made 
his appearance, lay also the theatrical programme. 
Mdrya NikolAevna seized it. 

''A drama 1^'— she ejaculated with indigna- 
tion:— "German drama. Never mind; that's 
better than Grcrman comedy. Order a box to be 



SPRING FRESHETS 

engaged for me— a baignoire— or no . . . the 
Fremden^lo^ will be better,"— die said to the 
5«raiter. " Do you hear: the FreThderirloge, with- 
out fail!" 

"But what \t \ht Frefnden4oge is already 
taken by his Excellency tiie tbwri-diitector— 
{Seine Excellenz derHerr Stadt-Director) V — 
the -waited ventured to obseire; 

"Give his Excellency ten thalers— and let me 
Itave the box! Do you hear! " ' 

The waiter bow^d his head submissively and 
sadly. 

" Dmftty Pdvlovitch, will you go to the theatre 
with nle? the German actors are horrible,— but 
you will go. . . . Yes? Yes! How amiable yoti 
aite! Thou wilt not go, wilt thou. Puffy? " 

"As thou commandest,"— said P61ozoff into 
his cup, which he was raising to his mouth. 

"Dost know what: stay here. Thou always 
fallest asleep in the theatre,— and thtti under^ 
standest German bcully^ This is what thou hadst 
better do: write a reply to the steward— thou re- 
memberest, about our/^iili' ^ . . about the peas- 
ants' grinding. Tell him that I won't, I won't, 
I. won't! There's occupation for thee,, for the 
whole evening." * 

" I obey,"— remarked Polozoff- 

" Well, very good indeed. Thou art a clever 
dear. And nowjt gentlemen, seeing that we have 
mentioned ikit steward^ let us diacussour main 

vl85 



SPRING FRESHETS 

business. As soon as the waiter has cleared the 
table, you shall tell us everything about your es- 
tate, Dmitry PAvlovitch— what, how, at what 
price you will sell it, how much earnest-money 
you want in advance,— in a word, everything I** 
("At lastl" thought Sanin,-" thank God!")- 
"You have already communicated to me some 
details; you described your park splendidly, I re- 
member—but Puffy was not present. . . . Let 
him hear about it— he always finds some faultl 
It is very pleasant to me to think that I can help 
on your marriage— and I promised you that we 
would occupy ourselves with you after breakfast; 
and I always keep my promises;— isn't that so, 
Ippoh'tSfdoritch?" 

Polozoff rubbed his face with the palm of his 
hand.— "What is true is true; you deceive no 
one." 

"Never I and I never will deceive any one. 
Come, Dmitry P^vlovitch,— state the case, as we 
express ourselves in the senate." 

XXXVII 

Basis set to work to " state the case,"— that is, 
to describe his estate again, for the second time, 
but on this occasion, without touching on the 
beauties of nature— and from time to time ap- 
pealing to P61oEoff for confirmation of the 
"facts and figures" quoted. But P61ozaff 

186 



SPRING FRESHETS 

merely grinned and shook his head— whether in 
approbati(xi or disapprobation, was a point which, 
apparently, the devil himseljp could not have de- 
termined. However, Milrya Nikoldevna did not 
need his sympathy. She displayed sudi commer- 
cial and administrative capacities as could but 
evoke amazement 1 The most petty details of estate 
management were excellently well known to her; 
she put accurate questions about everything, she 
ventured into everything; her every word hit the 
mark, placed the dot directly on the t. Sinin had 
not anticipated such an examination: he had not 
prepared himself. And this examination lasted 
for a whole hour and a half. S^in experienced 
all the sensations of a criminal on trial, seated on 
the narrow bench before a stern, a keen judge. 
"Why, this is an inquisition! " he whispered anx- 
iously to himself. M^rya Nikol^evna laughed 
the whole time, as though she were jesting: but 
Sdnin derived no relief from that; and when, in 
the course of the " inquisition," it appeared that 
he did not understand quite clearly the words 
"repartition" and "tillage"— he fairly broke 
into perspiration. 

"Well, very good 1"— said Mdrya Nikol^evna 
decisively at last. " Now I know about your es- 
tate. What price do you fix per soul?" (At 
that time, as every one knows, the price of estates 
.was fixed according to the number of serfs.) 

" Why .... I think ... I cannot take less 
187 



SPRING PRESHBTS 

than five hundred rubles"— articulated Sdma 
with difficulty. (CWi, Pantaleone, Pantaleone^ 
where art thou? Here's the point where thou 
shouldst have cried out once more: "* Barhari!*') 

Mirya Nikolievna rolled her eyes heavenward, 
ias though absorbed in thought. 

" Certainly,"— she said at last. " That price 
seems to me unobjectionable. But I stipulated 
for two days' grace,— and you must wait until to- 
morrow. I think we shall come to terms— and 
then you shall say how mudi cash down you want. 
But noWyhoBta cosi!**—she interpolated, perceiv- 
ing that Sdnin was on the point of making some 
reply.- "We have occupied ourselves enough 
with the despicable metal « . . a demain les af^ 
f aires! Do you know what: I will let you go 
now . . . . " (she glanced at an enamelled wAtch 
whidi was thrust into her belt) .... "until 
thi-ee o'clock ... I must give you time to rest. 
Go, play at roulette." 

" I never play at gambling games," --remarked 
S£nin. 

"Really? why, you are the pink of perfection! 
But I do not play either. It is foolish to fling 
one's money to the winds— on a certainty. But 
go into the gaming-room, look at the physiognb- 
mies. There are some very amusing ones. There 
is one old woman there, with a gold chain on hidr 
forehead, and moustaches— a marvel I One of our 
princes is there -i- he's nice also. A majestic fig- 

188 



SPRING: FRESHETS 

ure, a nose like an eaglets beak, and he puto on 91 
tiialer— and crosses himself on the sly under his 
waistcoat. Read the newspapers, walk about, in 
short, do whatever you like. . • . And at three 
o'dock I shall expect you . . . . de pied ferme* 
We must dine early. The theatre with these ri- 
diculous Germans begins at half -past six."-- She 
offered him her liaxid.—'^ Sans ranctme, n'est-ce 
PM?'' 

"Good gracious, Marya Nikolcievna, why 
should I be vexed with you? " 

"Because I have been torturing you. Wait, 
I'll do. it in a different way"— she added, nar* 
rowing her eyes,— and all her dimples came into 
sight simultaneously in her flushed cheeks.— 
" Until we meet again! " 

Sdnin bowed and left the room. A mexry 
laugh rang out behind him— and in a mirror, 
which he was passmg at the moment, the follow- 
ing scene was reflected: Marya Nikolaevna was 
pushijQg her husband's fez down over his eyes, and 
be was resisting with both hands. 

XXXVIII 

Oh, how deeply and joyously did Sanin draw 
breath, as soon as he found himself in his own 
dbamber! In point of fact, Marya Nikolaevna 
had* spoken the truth, when she had said that he 
ought to rest, ^ to rest from al] those p?w b^ 

180 



SPRING FRESHETS 

quaintances, encounters, conversations, from that 
hase which had got into his head, his soul; from 
that imexpected, imsought friendship with a Wo- 
man ^o was so foreign to him I And when was 
all this taking place? Almost on the very day 
after the one on which he had learned that Gremma 
loved him, that he had become her betrothed hus- 
band 1 Why, that was sacrilege I A thousand 
times he mentally asked forgiveness of his pure» 
unspotted dove— although, as a matter of fact, he 
could not accuse himself of anything; a thou- 
sand times he kissed the little cross which had 
been given to him. Had he not had a hope of 
bringing to a speedy and successful end the af- 
fair for which he had come to Wiesbaden,— he 
would have rushed headlong thence, back to dear 
Frankfurt, to that precious house, now already a 
home to him, to her, to her beloved feet. . . . But 
there was nothing to be done! He must drain 
the phial to the bottom, he must dress himself, 
go to dinner— and thence to the theatre. ... If 
she would only release him as promptly as pos- 
sible on the morrow! 

One other thing troubled him, enraged him: 
he had thought with love, with emotion, with no- 
ble rapture of G^nuna, of life in her society, of 
the happiness which was awaiting him in the fu- 
ture—and yet this strange woman, this Madame 
PoloBoff, kept importunately hovering— bobbing 
up • • • • precisely that, S£nin expressed him- 

190 



SPRING FRESHETS 

self with peculiar viciousness— fcofeWng" up in 
front of his eyes-rand he could not rid himself of 
her image, he could not help hearing her voice and 
recalling her speeches— he could not even help 
being conscious of that peculiar perfume, deli- 
cate^ fresh, and penetrating^ like the perfume of 
yellow lilies, which emanated from her garments. 
That lady was plainly making a fool of him, and 
making advances to him in all sorts of ways. . . • 
Why? what did she want? Could it be the mere 
whim of a spoiled, rich, and almost immoral wo^ 
inah? And that husband? What sort of a crea-^ 
ture was he? What were his relations to her? 
Why did those questions crawl into the head of 
him, Sanin, who really cared nothing whatever 
for Mr. PolozofF or his wife? Why could not 
he banish that pertinacious inlage, even when he 
turned, with all his soul, to another, as bright and 
clear as Good's day? How dared those features 
shine through those others, which were almost 
divine? And they not only did shine through— 
they smiled audaciously. Those grey, rapacious 
eyes, those dimples on the cheeks, those snaky 
locks of hair— and could it be that all thic had, as 
it were, cloven fast to him, and was he unable to 
shake off, to cast aside all this? 

Nonsense! nonsense! to-morrow everything will 
disappear and leave no trace, • . • But will she 
release him to-morrow? 

Yes, he put all these questions to himself —and 



SPRING FRESHETS 

time began to wear on toward three o'clock— and 
he donned his black dress-coat, and after stroll- 
ing for a while in the park, he went to the 
P61ozoffs\ 

He found in their drawing-room a secretary of 
legation, a Grcrman, a long, long, blond, with a 
horse-like profile, and his hair parted in the mici- 
dle behind— (that was still in fashion at that 
date)— and . . * oh, wondrous to relate 1 whohi 
else? von Donhof, that same officer with whom 
he had fought a few days previously! He had 
not in the least expected to meet him in that par4 
ticular plaee-^and he involuntarily grew emfaat^ 
rassed, but saluted him, nevertheless. 

"Are you acquainted?"- asked Marya Niko* 
laevna, whom Sanin's confusion did not escUpe^ 

" Yes ... I have already had the honoiu",* ■— 
articulated vori Donhof— and bending slightly 
in the direction of Mirya Nikolievna, he added, 
with a smile: "Thiig is the very man. . . . Your 
fellow-countryman .... the Russian ....'* 

"It cannot be!"— she exclaimed in an under- 
tone, shaking her finger at him— and immedi- 
ately began to dismiss both him and the long sec- 
retary, who, by all the signs, was dead in love 
with her— for he even opened his mouth every 
time he liooked at her. Donhof withdrew imrne^ 
diately, with amiable submissiveness, like a f riehd 
of the 'family, who understands at half a word 

102 



SPRING FRESHETS 

what is fequured of him; the seci*etary fried to he 
stubborn, but Mdrya Nikolaevna sent him away 
without any ceremony whatever. 

" Go to your reigning personage/' she said to 
him (there dwelt in Wiesbaden at that time a 
certain Principessa di Monluro, who bore a won- 
derful resemblance to a wretdied woman of the 
half-world)— " why should you sit with such a 
plebeian as I am? " 

" Upon my word, madame,"— the unfortunate 
secretary assured her^— " all the princesses in the 
world. . . . *' 

But Marya Nikolaevna was merciless— and 
the secretary took himself and his hair-parting 
oflp. , 

Marya Nikolaevna had arrayed herself very 
much to her '' advantage " — as our grandmothers 
were woat to say— on that day. She wore a 
•gown of rose-colouifed glaoe silk, with lace k la 
Fontanges, and a huge diamond in each ear. 
Her eyes were as brilliant as the diamonds: she 
seenled to be in high spirits. 

She itaade S£nin sit beside her, and began to 
talk to him about Paris, whither i^e was prepar- 
ing to go within a few days; about how the Ger- 
mans bored her, that they were stupid when they 
were wise, and inopportunely wise when they 
were stupid;— and all at once, straight out— A 
hrHle paurpomt—Ae asked him whether it were 
true that he had fought a duel recently, for the 

19S ■■•''' i 



SPRING FKJESHETS 

sake of « lady, with that officer who had just been 
sitting there? 

"How do you know about that?"— mutteried 
the astoimded Sdnin. 

"The earth is filled with the soimd thereof, 
Dmitry Pdvlovitch; but I know that you were in 
the right, a thousandfold in the right— and be«- 
haved like a true knight. Tell me— that lady- 
was your betrothed ? " 

Sdnin contracted his brows slightly. . • 

" Ccnne, I will not, I will not do it again,"— 
said Mirya Nikoldevna hastily. " It is disagree- 
able to you; forgive me, I won't do so again! do 
not be angry I" P61ossoff made his appearance 
from the adjoining room, with a sheet of news- 
paper in his hands. 

" What do you want? Is dinner ready? " 

"Dinner will be served directly, and just see 
what I have read in the Northern Bee • . • • 
Prince Gromob6y is dead." 

Marya Nikol^evna raised her head. 

" Ahl The kingdom of heaven be hisl Every 
year," she said, turning to S£nin, " in February, 
on my birthday, he used to decorate all my rooms 
with camellias. But it is not worth while to live 
in Petersburg during the winter for that. He 
was over seventy, was n't he?"— she asked her 
husband. 

" Yes. His funeral is described in the paper. 
The whole court was present. And here a^e 
Prince Kovrizhkin's verses on the event." 

194 



SPRING FRESHETS 

"WeU, that's splendid." 

" 1 11 read them aloud, if you Uke? The prince 
calls him a man of counsel/' 

" No, I would n't lik^- He a man of counsel 
iiideedl He was simply th^ husband of Tatydna 
Yiirievna. Let's eat our dinner. The living 
man thinks of living things. Pmitry Favlovitch» 
your arm." 

The dinner, like that of the preceding evening, 
was amazing, and passed off in very lively style. 
Mirya Nikoldevna had a talent for narration 
» • . . a rare gift in a woman, and still more so 
in a Russian woman! She did not stand on cere- 
mony as to her expressions, and her fellow-coun- 
trymen, in particular, caught it heavily. More 
than once Sanin was forced to laugh heartily at 
some audacious and well-aimed remark. The 
thing which Mdrya Nlkolievna could endure 
least was hypocrisy, empty phrases and lying. 
. . . She found this almost evierywhere. She made 
a display, as it were, and boasted of the lowly 
sphere in which her life had begun: she imparted 
decidedly strange anecdotes about her parents, in 
their youthful days; she called herself as much 
of a clodhopper as Natilya Kirilovna Narysh- 
kin.^ It became evident to Sdnin, that she had 
gone through much more, in her day, than the 
great majority of her countrywomen. 

'The mother of Peter the Great, through whose alliance with 
Tuur Alexd Mikhalkyvitch the Kar^ftbkSds (Md to hate descended 
from a Crimean TatiU') first came into prominence.— TliAifBLATOft. 

195 



SPUING FRESHETS 

But Polozoff ate thoughtfully, drank atten- 
tively, only occasionally darting a glance, now at 
his wife, again at Sanin, with his whitish, ap* 
parently hlind, but, in reality, extremely keen- 
sighted eyes.— "What a clever dear thou artl'* 
—exclaimed Mirya'Nikolievna, turning toward 
him: "how well tliou hast executed all my com- 
missions in Frankfurt! I'd like to give thee a 
kiss on thy dear little brow— but thou dost not 
care for that from me." 

" No, I don't/'— replied Polozoff, as he cut up 
an orange with a silver knife. 

Mdrya NikoHevna looked at him, and 
drummed on the table with her fingers. 

" So our wager holds good? **— she said signifi- 
cantly. 

"It does." 

"All right. Thou wilt lose." 

Polozoff thrust his chin forward.— "WeU, 
don't be too sure of thyself this time, Marya Ni- 
kolaevna, for my opinion is that thou wilt be the 
loser." 

" What is the winger about? May I know? "— 
asked Sanin. 

"No .... it is impossible at present,"— re- 
plied Marya Nikolievna, with a laugh. 

The clock struck seven. The waiter an- 
nounced that the carriage was at the door. 
P61ozoff escorted his wife to the door, and 
immediately returned to his easy-chair. 

196 



SPRING 1PRESHETS 

' " See to it that thini dost tiot forgtt the letter 
to the steward!**— Marya Nikoldevna called to 
him from the antechamber. 
** I '11 write it; don't worry. I *m an accurate 



man." 



XXXIX 

In the year 1840 the theatre at Wiesbadcfn was 
not only wretched as to exterior, but its troupe, in 
theit pomposity and miserable mediocrity, their 
diligent and commonplace routine, did not rise 
l^ SO much as a hair's-breadth above the level 
which, down to the present day, may be regarded 
as normal for all Germain theatres, and of which 
the troupe in Carlsruhe, under the " celebrated " 
direction of Herr Devrient, has of late presented 
the most perfect example. B^iind the box en- 
gaged for "her Transparency Madame von 
P61ozoff '* (the Lord only knows how the waiter 
had procured it— whether he had not, as an actoal 
fict, bribed the Stadt-Directorl)— behind this 
box was a little room with small divans set all 
around the walls. Before totering it, Mdrya Ni- 
koUevna asked Sdnin to raise the little shades 
which separated the box from the theatre. 

" I do not wish to be seen,*'— said she,—" for in 
that case, people will make their way hither im- 
toediately.'* She also placed him beside her, with 
his back to the auditorium, so that the box ap- 
peared to be empty. 

1«I 



SPRING FRESHETS 

The orchestra played the overture to the 
'VNo2sze di Figaro." .... The curtain rose; the 
play began. 

It was one. of the numerous home-made pro- 
ductions, in which well-read but talentless au-^ 
thors, in choice but deadly dull language, assidu- 
ously but clumsily set forth some " profound " or 
'' palpitatmg " idea, presented a so-called tragic 
conflict, and induce^ a tedium . . . fairly Asir 
atic, like the Asiatic cholera! M^rya NikoUeyna 
listened patiently to half of one act, but when llie 
first lover, on learning of the treachery of his be* 
loved (he was dressed in a cinnamon-brown frock- 
coat, with " pujBPs '* and a velveteen collar, a 
striped waistcoat with mother-of-pearl buttons^ 
green trousers with boot-straps of patent-leather, 
and white wash-leather gloves) ,— when that 
lover, resting both clenched fists on his breajrt;, 
and protruding his elbows in front of him 
in an acute angle, began to howl exactly lik^ 
a dog— Mdrya Nikoldevna could endure it no 
longer. 

"The worst French actor, in the worst little 
provincial town, plays better and more naturally 
than the leading German celebrity,"— she ex- 
claimed indignantly, and changed her seat to the 
rear room.— "Come here,"— she said to Sanin, 
tapping the divan by her side.-*-" Let's have a 
chat." 

S£nin obeyed. 

i!l98 



SPRING FRESHETS 

Miry a NikoMevna darted a glance at him«-^ 
" But you are soft as silk, I see! Your wife will 
have an easy time with you. That buffoon,*'— 
she continued, pointing the tip of her fan at the 
howling actor (he was playing the part of a pri- 
Tate tutor) ,— " has reminded me of my youth ; I, 
also, was in love with the tutor. It was my first 
• • . • no, my second passioti. I fell in love for 
the first time with a young fellow in training for 
a monk, at the Donsk6y Monaistery.^ I was 
twelve years old. I saw. him only on Sundays. 
He wore a velvet cassock, he scented himself with 
lavender water, as he made his way through the 
crowd with the censer he spoke to the ladies in 
French: 'Pardon, excusez/scrxA never raised his 
teyes, but he had eyelashes,— as l6ng as thatl"— 
Mdrya Nikoldevna marked off with her thumb- 
nail half of her middle finger, and showed it to 
Sdnin.— "My tutor's name was Monsieur Gas- 
ton. I must tell you that he was a frightfully 
learned and very strict man, a Swiss, and with 
such an energetic face! He had side-whiskers as 
black as pitch, and a Grecian profile— and his lips 
looked as though they had been cast out of iron! 
I was afraid of him! In all my life, I have never 
been afraid of any man but that one ! He was the 
governor of my brother, who died afterward 
... he was drowned. And a Gipsy has foretold 
a violent death for me also— but that is nonsense. 

^' A fSunous monastery in the outskirts of Moteow.^TBAKsuii€«. 
199 



SPRING FRESHETS 

I don't believie it Just imagine Ippolit Sidoritch 
with a dagger!" 

" One may die otherwise than by a dagger," -^i- 
remarked Sdnin. 

"' That 's all nonsense 1 Are you superstitious;? 
I 'm not— not in the least. But what is to be can- 
not be avoided. Monsieur Gaston lived in our 
house, over my head. When I used to wake up 
in the night, I could hear his footsteps— he went 
to bed very late— and my heart used to swoon 
with emotion . . • • or with som^ other feeling. 
My father could hardly read and write himsdf, 
but he gav6 us a good education. Do you know, 
I understand Latin ? " 

"You? Latfci?" 

**Yes— I. Monsieur Gaston taught me. I 
read the ^neid through with him. It *s a tire- 
sk)me thing—but there are nice passages. Do you 
remember, when Dido and ^neas in the fcwr- 
est. ..." 

" Yes, yes, I remember,"— said S^in hastily. 
He had long ago forgotten all his Latin, and had 
but a faint conception of the iEneid. 

M£rya Nikol^vna looked at him, according 
to her wont, somewhat askance, and from 
below upward.— "But you must not think 
that I am very learned. Akh! good heavens, 
Ao-^I 'm not learned, and I have no talent?. 
I hardly know how to write . ; . . truly I 
don't; I cannot read aloud; I can neither play 

200 



SPRING FRESHETS 

the piano, nor draw, nor embroider— noth- 
ing! That 's what I 'm like— this is all there is 
tomel'' 

She threw her hands apart.—" I am telling you 
all this,"— she went on,— "in the first place, to 
avoid hearing those fools" (she pointed at the 
stage, where, at that moment, instead of the actor; 
an actress had taken up the howl, with her elbows, 
also, thrust forward),—" and, in the second 
place, because I am in yoiur debt; you told me 
about yourself yesterday." 

"You were good enough to ask me,"— re- 
marked Sdnin. 

Mdrya Nikoldevna suddenly turned toward 
him. — " And you do not care to know what sort 
of a woman I am? But I am not surprised,"— 
she added, leaning back once more against the 
cushions of the divan. --r" A man is making ready 
to marry, and for love into the bargain, and after 
a duel. • • . What time has he to think of any^ 
thing else? " 

MiLrya Nikoldevna gr?w pensive, and began to 
nibble at the handle of her fan, with her large but 
even teeth, as white as milk. 

And it seemed to Sanin tihat again there began 
to rise up in his brain that haze, from which he 
had not been able to rid himself —for the second 
daynow. 

The conversation between him and Marya 
Nikolievna had been carried on in an undertone, 

20JI 



1 



SPRING FRESHETS 

almost in a whisper— and this excited and agi^ 
tated him all the more. ... 

When was all this going to end? 

Weak people never put an end to things them- 
selves—they always wait for the end. 

Some one snecssed on the stage:— ilie sneeze 
had been introduced into the play by the author, 
as a ** comic moment," or " element " ; there was 
no other comic element about it, as a matter of 
course: and the spectators took advantage of that 
moment and laughed. 

That laugh also excited Sinin. 

There were minutes when he positively did not 
know whether he were angry or pleased, bored 
or merry. (%, if Genuna could have seen him 1 

** Really, it is strange,"— said Miiya Nifco* 
lievna suddenly. ^^A man annoimces to ycu^ 
and in such a composed voice: 'I'm going to 
marry'; but no one tells you composedly: 
* I 'm going to fling myself into the water.' And 
yet— what is the difference? 'T is strange, 
reaUy." 

Vexation seized upon Sinin.— "The differ* 
ence is great, Marya NikoMevna! Some mert are 
not in the least afraid to throw themselves into 
the water: they know how to swim, and, in addi- 
tion to that ... so far as the strang^iess of 
marriages is concerned .... if it comes to 
that . . • • 

202. , 



SPRING FRESHBTS 

He suddenly ceased speaking, alid bit his 
tongue. 

Marya Nikoldevna smote the pahn of her hand 
with her fan. 

"Finish your sentence, Dmitry Pdvlovitch, 
finish— I know what you meant to say. 'If it 
comes to that, my dear madam, Mirya Niko- 
Uevna F61ozo£f,' you meant to say, 'nothing 
more strange than your marriage can be im* 
agined • • . for I know your husband well, from 
childhood/ That is what you meant to say,— 
you who know how to swim I " 

"Pray,"— SAnin began .... 

" Is n't that the truth? Is n't that the truth? " 
—articulated Mdrya Nikolaevna pertinaciously. 
"Come, look me in the face, and tell me that I 
have not spoken the truth I " 

Sirnn did not know where to turn his eyds.— 
— " Well, as you like: it is true, if you insist upon 
it," he said at last. 

Mdrya Nikoldevna nodded her head.— "Ex- 
actly . . . exactly. Well— and hstve you asked 
yourself, you who know how to swim^what can 
be the cause of so strange a . . . . step, on the 
part of a woman who is not poor ... or stupid 
• . . or ugly? Perhaps that does not interest 
you; but never mind. I will tell you the reason, 
not now, but as soon as the entr'acte is over. I 
am in a constant fret lest some one should 
enter . . . . ^^ 

208 



SPRING FRESHETS 

Before Milrya NikolAevna had succeeded in 
uttering this last word, the outer door really did 
open half-way— and into the box there was tiinist 
a red, greasily-perspiring head, still young but 
already toothless, with long, lank hair, a peiident 
nose, huge ears, like those of a bat, with gold 
spectacles on the curious, dull little eyes, and a 
pair of eyeglasses on top of the spectacles. The 
head looked around, espied Mirya Nikolievna* 
grinned abominably, nodded. ... A sinewy 
neck was outstretdied after it. . . . 

Mdrya Nikoldevna shook her handkerchief at 
it.—" I 'm not at homel Ich binmcht zu Hatise, 
Herr P. . . t Ich bin nicht zu Hau9e .... 
Ks}i9hsh,ksh9hsh!'' 

The head was surprised, laughed m a con- 
strained way, said, with a sort of sob, in imitaticm 
of Liszt, at whose feet it had once fawned : '' Sehr 
gut! sehr gutl^'—nsid vanished. 

"What sort of a creature is that?" inquired 
SAnin. 

"That? A Wiesbaden critic. A ' litterateur/ 
or valet de place, whichever you please to call it. 
He is hired by the local contractor, and therefore 
is bound to praise everjrthing, to go into raptures 
over everjrthing; but he is thorou^ly permeated 
with nasty gall, which he does not dare even to 
discharge. I'm afraid: he's a hcnrid gossip; 
he '11 run straight off and tell that I 'm in the 
theatre. Well, I don't care." • . . , 

JtOA 



SPRING FRESHETS 

Hie orchestra finishekl playing a waltz, the cur- 
tain rose again. . . The contortions and whim- 
Paring began agaia on the stage. 

"Well, sir,"— began Mdrya Nikoldevna, sink- 
ing down on the divan once naore— " as long as 
I have got you fast, and you are compelled to $it 
with me, instead of luxuriating in the proximity 
of your betrothed . . . don't roll your eyes, and 
don't get angry— I understand you, and have al- 
-ready promised you that I wiU dismiss you to 
complete freedom— but listen now to my confes- 
motil Would you like to know what I love most 
ofaU?" 

"Freedom," suggested Sinin. 

Mdrya Nikoldevna laid her hand on his. 

"Yes, Dmitry Pdvlovitch,"— she said— and 
her voice rang with a certain pecidiar, indubita- 
Wy genuine solannity— "freedom, more than 
all, and before all else. And you are not to think 
that I have boasted of this— there is noth- 
ing laudable about it— only it is so, and 
always has been and always will be so for me, 
even to my death. I must have seen a great 
deal of slavery in my childhood, and. have 
suffered much from it. Well, and Mon- 
sieur Gaston, my teadier, opened my eyes 
also. Now, perhaps, you will understand why 
I married Ippolit Sidoritch: with him I am 
free, perfectly free, as free as the air, as the 

breeze And I knew that before the 

205. 



SPRING FRESHETS 

wedding, I knew that with him I shoidd be a 
freekae&kl" 

Mdrya Nikoldevna ceaaed speaking, and flung 
aside her fan. ' 

'' I will tell you still another thing; I am not 
averse to reflection • . • • it 's cheerful, and that 's 
what our mind was given us for; but as to the 
consequences of what I do myself,— I never re- 
flect, and when anything happens, I don't pity 
myself —not even so mtteh—it is n't worth whilel 

I have a saying: 'Cela ne tire pas a consequence* 
—I don't know how to say that in Russian. And 
it is correct: for what does 'tire a consSqnencef ' 
—I shall not be called to account here— on this 
earth; and there— {she pointed her finger up- 
ward) —well, there— let them arrange matters as 
they like. When I am judged there, it won't be 

II Are you listening to me? You are not 
bored?" 

S£nin was sitting bent forward. He raised his 
head.—" I am not in the least bored, Mdrya Ni- 
koMevna, and I am listening to you with curi- 
osity. Only I * . I must confess .... I am 
asking myself, why you are saying all this to 
me?" 

Mdrya Nikol^vna moved along a little on the 
divan.—" You are asking yourself. . . . Are you 
so duU of apprehension? Or so modest? " 

Sdnin raised his head still higher. 

" I am saying all this to you,"— pursued Marya 
SOQ 



SPRING FRESH^jTS 

Nikoldevng, in a calm tone^ whieh^ however, ^d 
not entirely conforni to the expression of her 
face,—" because I like you very much indeed; 
yes, you need not be sifrprised, I am not jesting; 
fpr it would be unpleasant for m^ if» after having 
met you, you should cherish a disagreeable im-. 
pp:;QWon of me • . . or even one that was not dis- 
agreeable— I don't mind that^^but an incorrect 
oufi. That is why I have secluded myself here 
with you, and am remaining alpne with you, a!nd 

am t talking so frankly to you Yes, yes, 

frankly. I am not lying. And observe, Dmitry 
PAvloviteh, I know that you are in love with an- 
other woman, that you are making ready to 
maorry her. . . . But do justice to. my disinter- 
estedness! And here is your opportunity to say, 
in your turn 'Cela ne tire pas a consiquencef* 

She laughed, but her laughter broke off 
abruptly— and she remained motionless, as 
though her Qwn words had startled her, and in 
her eyes, ordinarily so merry and audacious, there 
was a flash of something akin to timidity,— akin 
even to sadness. 

"The serpent! akh, she is a serpent!" Sdnin 
was thinking meanwhile ; '' but what a beautiful 
^erpentl" 

. "Give me my lorgnette,"— said Mdrya Niko- 
Uevna, suddenly. " I want to see whether that 
jeune premihre actually is so homely. Really, 
on« might suppose that she was appointed by the 



SPRING FRESHETS 

management with a moral aim in view, in order 
that the yomig men might not be too much fas- 
cinated." 

Sdnin handed her the lorgnette, and, as she 
took it from him, she clasped his hand swiftly in 
both her hands. ' 

** Please don't be so serious,"— she whispered, 
with a smile.—" Do you know ^at? no one can 
impose any fetters on me; but then, I impose no 
fetters.— I love freedom, and recognise no ob- 
ligations— and that not for myself alone. But 
now, stand aside, if you please, and let us lisften 
to the play." 

Mdrya Nikoldevna turned her glasses on the 
stage— and Sdnin began to look in that direction 
also, as he sat by her side, in the semi-darkness 
of the box, and inhaled— involuntarily inhaled— 
the warmth and fragrance of her luxurious body, 
and as involuntarily turned over in his head 
everything which she had said to him in the coarse 
of the evening— especially in the course of the 
last few minutes. 

XL 

The play lasted for more than an hour longer, 
but Mdrya Nikoldevna and Sanin speedily ceased 
to look at the stage. They entered into conver- 
sation agam, and that conversation slipped into 
the same path as before? only this time S^bin 



SPRING FRESH£}TS 

Wis left tadtum. Inwardly, he was raging at 
himself and at Mirya Nikolaevna. He endea* 
Toured to demonstrate to her the utter ground- 
lessness of her '' theory/' as though she cared for 
theciriesl He hegan to dispute with her, at which 
flhe secretly rejoiced. If a man argues, it means 
that he is yielding or will yield. He has swal- 
lowed the bait, he is surrendering, he has ceased 
to be wild I She retorted, laughed, assented, nnsd- 
itated, attacked • . . and, in the meantime, his 
face and her face drew nearer together, his eyes 
were no longer averted from her eyes. . . . Those 
eyes seraied to be straying, seemed to be circling 
over his features, and he smiled at her in response 
-^politely, but he smiled. She had also won this 
much ground, that he entered into abstractions, 
argued about honour in mutual relations, about 
duty, about the sanctity of love and marriage. 
• • • • It is a familiar fact that these abstrac- 
tions are very, very useful as a beginning • • , • 
as a point of departure. ... 
. People who knew Mdrya NikoUevna well were 
wont to assert that when a certain tender and 
modest something— a something which was al- 
QMt maidenly-bashful— suddenly passed over 
her. whole strong and vigorous being,— although 
you might wonder whence it proceeded, • . yet 
then • • • yes, then, affairs were taking a dan- 
gerous turn. 
They were, obviously, taking that !tum for Sd- 
209 



SPRING FRE&HEtS 

nini- . . . He would hav6 felt scom for himself, 
had he siliiceeded, even/for oiie moment, in con* 
cehtrating himself ; but he did not succeed^ either 
in coneeritratirig Or scorning himself . 

Aiid she lost no time. 'And it all iame about 
because he was very far from homely. One is, in* 
voluntarily, compelled to say: " How are you 
to know where you wiD find, where you will 
lose?" 

^he play came to an end. Mdrya Nikoldetna 
asked S&nhi to throw her shawl around hep, and 
did not stir while he was wrapping the soft fab- 
ric abbut her really regal shoulders. Then she 
to«ok his arm, emerged into the corridor— and 
came near shrieking aloud. At the very door of 
the box, like a spectre, stood D5nhof ; and from 
behind his back peeped the repulsive' figure 
of the Wiesbaden critic. The face of this ". lite^ 
ary man" was fairly beaming with malicious 
<ielight. 

" Do you command me to find your carriage^ 
madame?" said the young ofScer, addressing 
MArya NikoWivna, with the quiver of badly- 
concealed wrath in his voice. 

''^o, thank you,"-she replied. . . . "My 
lackey will find it Stay here!"— she added, in 
an imperious whisper— and swiftly retreated, 
dragging Sdnin along. 

"Go to the devil! Why are you bothering 
me?" Donhof suddenly roared at the literary 

210 



SPRING: PRESHETS 

man. He was forced to veiit his spleen on'tome 
one. 

** Sehr gutl sehr gutt '^— mtunbled the literaary 
man— and vanished. . i 

Mirya NikoUevna's lackey^ whO' was waiting 
for her in the vestibule, found ber ckrriage in an 
instant; she hastily seated herself in it, Sinin 
sprang in after her. The door slammed— and 
Mirya Nikolievha broke into a rii^ing/ laugh. 
. '' What are you laughing at? "—asked Sdnin. 

""Akh, excuse me, pray • • . . but an* idea 
eaohe into my head. What if Donhcif were to 
fight another duel with you .... about me. 
, . . . Would n't that be splendid? '' / ' 
: "''And are you very intimately acquainted with 
him? "-r asked SAnin. : ' .: 

. " With him? With that little boy? He 's just 
one of my errand*-boys. Don't worry about 
himr* 

: " Why, I 'm not worrying at all." > 
\ Idirya NikoUevna sighed.— -'Akh, I know 
that you are not worrying. But, listen— do you 
know what? you are so nice, you ought not to re- 
fuse me one last request. Don't forget: two 
days hence I set out for Paris, and yoa will re- 
turn to Frankfurt. . . , When shall we meet 
againl" 

" What is your request? " 

" You can ride on horseback, of course? ** - 

"Yes." '-■•; • 

811 



SPRING FRESHETS 

"Well, then, see here. To-morrow morning 
I will take you with me— and we will ride into 
the suburbs together. We shall have capital 
horses. Then we will return, and will settle our 
business— and amenl Do not be surprised, do 
not tell me that this is a caprice, that I am crazy 
—all that may be true— but say merely: * I con- 
sent! ' " 

Mdrya NikoUevna turned her face tawatd 
him. It was dark in the carriage, but her eyes 
gleamed even in that gloom. 

" Certainly, I consent,"— said Sinin, with a 
sigh. 

"Akh! You sig^edl"— Mdrya Nifcbldevna 
mocked him. '' That is what is meant byr You 
have said A— don't refuse to say B^ But, no^ 
no. . • . You are charming, you are good— and 
I will keep my promise. Here is my hand for 
you, ungloved, the right, the business-like hand% 
Take it— and trust its pressure. What 8Ctt of 
a w(rinan I am, I do not know, but I ain an honest 
man— and you can do business with me." ' . > > 

S^min, without clearly accounting to himself 
for what he did, raised the hand to his lips. Miiyit 
Nikoldevna gently withdrew it— and suddenly 
ceased speaking, and maintained silence until the 
carriage came to a halt. 

She began to alight. ... "What 's that?" 
Was it merely SiUiin's fancy, or did he really feel 
on his cheek a swift and burning touch? 

ei2 



SPRING FRESHETS 

* Farewell until to-morrow I *' — whispered 
Mdrya Nikolaevna to him on the stairs, all illu- 
minated with the four lights of the candelabra, 
which had been caught up, on her appearance, by 
the gilded door-porter. She kept her eyes down- 
cast. 
" Unta to-morrowl " 

When he reached his room, Sdnin found on his 
table a letter from Gkmma. He was frightened 

, • • • • for a moment— but inmiediately rejoiced, 
in order the more speedily to mask his own fear 
to himself.— It consisted of a few lines.— She was 
delighted at the favourable "beginning of the 
aflfair," advised him to be patient^ and ^dded 
that every one in the house was well, and was re- 
joicing in advan^ over his return. Siqin 
thought this letter decidedly curt; but, neverthe- 
less, he tpok pen and paper— an4 then flung all 
aade.— " Why write? To-morrow I i^all retiun 

.^person .... 'tis time, high J;ime!" , 

He immediately went to bed, and tried to get 
to deep as promptly as possible. Had be re- 
mained up, and awake, he certainly would have 
begun to think of Gemma— but, for siHoerea- 
iOD or other .... he was ashamed to think of 
her. His conscience was stirring within him. 
But he soothed himself with the reflection, that 

<aQL the morrow everything would be over forever, 
and he would part forever from that giddy ^e 
lady— and would forget all that nonsense 1 «... 

218 



SPRING FRESHETS 

• Weak people; when they talk to themselves, 
aw fbnd of osiii^ energetic expressibns. ••' 

*' Et puis .... celd ne tire pa$ a ccmsSquencet'' 

• • • • 

XLI 

This is what Sdnin was thinking, as he got into 
bed. But what he thought on the f ollowmg day, 

' when MArya Nikolaevna impatiently tapped dn 
his door with the coral handle of her riding-whip; 
when he beheld her on the threshold of his didtt- 
ber, with the train of her dark-green riding- 
habit over her arm, a little masculine hat tan 
her curls plaited in heavy braids, her veil tossed 
over her shoulder, and with a temjrting smile on 

' her lips, in her eyes, on her whole face— as to 
what he thought then history holds its peace. 

"Well? Are you ready?"— her merry voiee 
resoimded. 

Sanin buttoned his coat, and silently took up 
his hat. Mdrya Nikoldevna darted a brilliant 
glance at him, nodded her head, and ran swiftly 
down the staircase. And he ran after her. " 

The horses were already standing in the stNcft, 
in front of the steps. There were three of them. 
A golden-bay, pure-blooded mare, with a thin, 
{^Idling muzzle, black, prominent eyes, with the 
legs of a deer, rather lean, but handsome' aud 
mettlescxne as fire,— for Marya Nikolaevna;- a 

• powerful, broad, rather heavily-built horse, black, 

214 



SPRING FRESHETS 

without marks,— for Sdnin; the third horse was 
destined for the groom. Mdrya Nikoldevna 
leaped agilely on her mare. « . The latter 
pranced and curveted, flirted out its tail, and 
elevated its crupper, but Mdrya Niboldevna (a 
capital horsewoman 1) held it in place. She 
must say good-bye to Polozoff , who, in his inev- 
itable fez and with dressing-gown flying open, 
made his appearance on the balcony, and thence 
waved a batiste handkerchief, without the trace of 
a smile, however, but frowning rather. Sdnin 
mounted also on his horse. Mirya NikoMevna 
saluted Mr. P61ozojff with her Whip, then lashed 
the flat arched neck of her steed with it; the lat- 
ter rewed on its hind legs, darted forward, and 
proceeded in a prancing, curveting gait, quiver- 
ing in every nerve, champing at the bit, biting the 
air, and snorting violently. Sdnin rode behind, 
and gazed at Mdrya NikoUevna. Confidently, 
dexterously, and gracefuUy swayed her lithe, 
slender form, closely and easily confined by her 
corset. She turned back her head, and sum- 
moned him with her eyes. He rode up along- 
side of her. 

" Well, here you see how nice it is,"— said she. 
" I am talking to you for the last time before our 
parting! You are a dear! and you shall not re- 
pent! " 

Having uttered these last words, she moved 
her head from above downward several times^ 

' 215 



SPRING FRESHETS 

aa though desirous of confirming them, and wBk^ 
ing him feel their sdgnificanee. 

She seemed happy to such a degree that S^nid 
was simply amazed. A certain sedate expresston 
made its appearance on her face— the sort d£ 
expression which children wear when they are 
very . • . . very much pleased. 

They rode at a foot-pace to the barrier, wliidi 
was not far distant, and there set out at a rapid 
gallop along the highway. The weather was gl0« 
rious, real summer weather; the breeze blew in 
their faces, and hummed and whistled agreeably 
in their ears. They felt well; the consciousness 
of young, healthy life, of free, rapid movement 
ahead, took possession of both of them; it aug-r 
mented with every moment. 

Marya Nikolievna reined in her horse, and 
rode at a walk; S^nin followed her example. 

" There,"— she began, with a deep, blissful 
sigh; " there, life is worth living for this alone« 
When one has succeeded in accomplishing what 
he wishes, M^hat seemed impossible— well, then, 
soul, profit Isy it tQ the utmost! " She passed hei^ 
hand across her throat.—" And how amiable a 
person feels then! Here am I now . . how ami- 
able I am! It seems as though I could embrace 
the whole world."— She pointed with her whip at 
a poorly-clad old man, who was making his way 
along on:on^ sid^.— " I *m even ready to make 
liiip happy. Here, there, you, take this,"— she 
cried loudly, in (Jerman— flinging her purse 

210 



SPRING FRESHETS 

;«ft his feet. The ponderous bag (there was no 
such thing as a pocket-book in those days) clat- 
tered on the road. The passer-by was astonished, 
and halted, but Marya Nikolaevna burst out 
laughing, andiset her horse to galloping. 

" Does it make you so merry to ride on horse- 
back? " asked Sanin, as he overtook her. 

Again Marya Nikolaevna reined in her horse 
until it rested on its hind quarters. She never 
stopped it in any other way.— "I only wished 
to escape gratitude. He who thanks me spoils 
my happiness. I did n't do it for his sake, you 
see, but for my own. And how could he dare to 
thank me? I did not hear exactly what you 
asked me? " 

" I asked • • • I wanted to know why you are 
so meny to-day? " 

" Do you know what,"— said Marya Nikoli- 
evna: she either did not hear what Sdnin said, 
or else she did not consider it. necessary to an- 
swer his question.—" I 'm frightfully tired of 
that groom, who is sticking up there behind us, 
and who must be thinking only about when ' the 
masters ' will go home. How shall we get rid of 
him? "—She hastily drew from her pocket a lit- 
tle note-book.—" Shall I send him to town with 
a letter? No .... that won't do. Ah, I have 
it! What 's that ahead of us? . A restaurant? " 

Sdnin looked in the direction she indicated.— 
" Yes, it is a restaurant, apparently." 

" Well, very good, indeed. I will order him to 

217 



SPRING FRESHETS 

remain at that restaurant, and drink beer, liniiil 
we return." 

"But what wiU he think?" 

" What business is that of ours? But he wiH 
not thinks he will drink beer— ihat 's all. CcNtn^» 
Simn " (she addressed him by his surname for the 
first time) — " advance— at a trot! " 

On coming opposite the restaurant, M6rya 
Nikoldevna called up the groom, and informed 
him of what she required of him. The groom, 
a man of English extraction and English tem^ 
perament, silently lifted his hand to the visor. of 
his cap, sprang from his horse, and took it by the 
bridle. " 

" Well, now we are free as birds! "—exclaimed 
Marya Nikoldevna.—" Where shall we go?— 
north, south, east, or west? See,— I do like the 
King of Hungary at his coronation " (she 
pointed with her whip at all four quarters of 
the globe).— "All is ours! No, do yon know 
what: see, what glorious mountains there are yon- 
der—and what a forest! Let us ride thither, tb 
the hills, to the hills ! 

In die Berge^ wo die Freiheit tkront ! ** 

She turned out of the highway, and galloped 
along a narrow, unbeaten road, which appeared 
to lead directly to the mountains. Sdnin gal- 
loped after her. 

218 



SPRING FRE3HETS 



XLII 

This road soon became a path, and at last disap- 
peared entirely, intercepted by a ditch. Sdnin 
advised return, but M^rya Nikoldevna said: 
'!No! I want to go to the mountains I Let us 
ride straight as the birds fly . . ."—and made her 
horse leap the ditdi. Sinin also leaped it. Be- 
yond the ditch began a meadow, at first dry, then 
wet, then, at last, a regular marsh; the water was 
seeping through everywhere^ and stood in pools. 
Mirya NikoUevna sent her horse deliberately 
across the pools, laughed loudly, and kept reiter- 
ating: "Let's frolic like school-children I" 

"Do you know,"— she asked Sanin,— "the 
meaning of the expression : ' puddle-hunting ' ? " ^ 

" I do," replied Sanin. 

" My uncle was a himtsman,"- she went on. 
" I used to ride with him in the spring. It was 
splendid! Just like you and I now— ah, the pud- 
dles 1 I see you are a Russian man, but you 
want to marry an Italian. Well, that 's your 
affliction. What's that? Another ditch? Hop!" 

The horse leaped— but Marya Nikolaevna's 
hat fell from her head, and her curls showered 
down over her shoulders. Sanin was cm the point 
of slipping off his horse, and picking up the hat; 
but she shouted at him: " Don't touch it; I '11 get 

'The first spring thaw.— Tea NiiAxg*. 

219 



SPRING FRESHETS 

it myself! " bent low in her saddle, hooked the 
handle of her whip into the veil, and, in fact, did 
get the hat, and put it on her head, but without 
gathering up her hair, dashed headlong onwislrd 
once more, and even whooped. Sdnin dashed 
along by her side, leaped over gullies, fences, 
brooks, tumbling in and scrambling out, racing 
down hill, racing up hill, and gazing ever in tier 
face. What a face! It seemed to be all open; the 
eyes were open, greedy, bright, wild; the lips, 
the nostrils were open also, and breathed eagerly; 
she stared straight and intently in front of her, 
and, apparently, that soul wanted to take pos- 
session of everything she beheld, the earth, the 
sky, the sim, and the very air itself, and grieved 
over one thing only: there were too few dangers 
—it would have overcome them all! "SdninI** 
—she cried, "this is in Biirger*s 'Lenorel* 
Only, you are not dead— are you? You are 
not dead? . . . I *m alive!" Her power of dkr- 
ing had begun to come into action. She was no 
longer a woman-rider, setting her horse at a gal- 
lop—she was a young female centaur— half- 
beast, half -goddess— who was galloping there— 
and the sedate and well-trained country, trampled 
upon by her stormy debauch, stood amazed. 

Miirya Nikoldevna at last drew up her f oaih- 
ing, bespattered horse; it was staggering beneath 
her, iand Sdnin's powerful but heavy stallion was 
out of breath. 

22Q 



SPRING FRESHETS 

•*WeU? Is it pleasant?" asked MdryaNiko- 
Uevna, in a wonderful sort of whisper. 

" Yes I "—responded Sanin, enthusiastically. 
And his blood blazed up within him. 

" Wait, there 's more to come 1 "—She stretched 
out her hand. The glove on it was rent. 

" I told you that I would lead you to the forest, 
to the mountains • . . there they are, the moun^ 
tains!"— la fact, the mountains, covered with 
lofty forest, began a couple of hundred paces 
from the spot to which the wild riders had flown. 
— " Look, yonder is the road, too. Let us set 
out— and forward! But at a walk. We must 
give the horses a rest." 

They rode on. With one powerful sweep of 
the hand, Mdrya Nikolaevna tossed back her hair. 
Then she looked at her gloves— and took them 
off. " My hands will smell of the leather,"— she 
said, '' but you don't mind that^ I hope? Iko 
you?" • • . • Marya Nikoldevna smiled, and 
Sanin smiled also. That mad ride of theirs 
seemed to have definitively brou^t them close 
together, and made them friends. 

"How old are you?"— she suddenly inquired. 

'' Twenty-two." 

"Is it possible? I am also twenty-two. It 
is A good age. Add our ages together, and even 
then the sum will be far removed from old age. 
But how hot it is! Is my face red? " 

" As a poppy." 

221 



SPRING FRESHETS 

Marya Nikolaevna wiped her fttce with her 
handkerchief.—" If we can but reach the forest; 
it will be cool there. Such an old forest ii^ just 
like an old friend. Have you friends? *' 

Sdnin reflected a little.—" Yes . • . only, not 
many. No real ones." 

"But I have some, real friends, only ndt old 
ones. Here 's a friend, also— a horse. How 
carefully it carries one! Akh, it is capital herel 
Is it possible that I shall set out for Paris the da;^ 
after to-morrow? " 

"Yes ... is it possible? "-chimed in Sdhin. 

" And are you going to Frankfurt? " 

" It is imperatively necessary that I should go 
to Frankfurt." 

" Well, never mind .... good luck to yoikl 
But to-day is ours .... ours-. . • . ours!** » 

'r. . 

The horses reached the border of the forest, akid 
entered it. The shadow of the forest enveloped 
them broadly and softly on all sides. 

" Oh, yes, this is paradise! "—exclaimed Mdrya 
Nikolaevna. " Deeper, further into the shade, 
Sdnin!" 

The horses moved on, " deeper into the shade," 
reeling slightly, and snorting. The path wherein 
they trod suddenly made a turn to one side, and 
plunged into a rather narrow gorge. The scent 
of the young birch-trees, of ferns, of pine-resin, 
of rank rotting foliage from the preceding year, 

^22. 



SPRING FRESHETS 

teemed to be shut up within it^dense'and 
dreamy. From the crevices of the huge^ daiib- 
brown rocks emanated a robust coohiess. On 
both sides of the path rose tround mounds over- 
grown with green moss. 

" Stop I "—cried Marya Nikoldevna. " I wai* 
to sit down and rest on this velvet. Help lne«to 
disibount." . /^ 

Sanin leaped from his horse, and ran to heii. 
She leaned on his shoulders, spi^ang /instantl;f to 
the ground,. and seated herself on ooit of tbfe 
mossy mounds. He stood in front of ^e:r, hbldr 
ing the bridles of both horses in his hands. : 

She raised her eyes to his. • • • '' Sinin, cati 
you forget?" I 

Sinin recalled what had happened the oigHt 
before .... in the carriage :-^^* What is tbatxf 
a question .... or a reproach? " 

" I have never reproached any one for anyr 
thing in my life. But do you believe, in loye- 
charms? " .u 

"What?" 

" In love-diarms— you know; what is referred 
to in our songs. In the popular Russian; bal- 
lads." 

" Ah I That 's what you are talking about . . ." 
drawled Sdnin. 

" Yes, about that. I believe in that • • • . and 
do you?" 

" LfOve-ohanns .... witchcraft . • . •" repeated 

.22P 



SPRING FRESHETS 

Simin. '^Everything is possible in this world. I 
did not use to believe in it— now I do. I don't 
recognise myself." 

Marya Nikoliievna pondered, and glanced 
about her.—" It strikes me that I know this spot 
Look behind that spreading oak, Sdnin, and see 
whether a red wooden cross stands there, or not," 

Sdnin stepped a few paces to one side,—" Yc% 
it is there." 

Mdrya NikolAevna smiled.— " Ah, good 1 I 
know where we are. We are not lost yet. What 
is that tapping? A wood-cutter? " 

Sdnin peered into the thicket.— " Yes . . /, 
Yonder is some man chopping dry branches." 

" I must put my hair in order,"— said Mdrya 
NikolAevna.— " If I don't, and am seen, I sdiall 
be censured." She took off her hat, and began 
to plait her long tresses. Sdnin stood in front 
of her. . . . Her graceful limbs were clearly de- 
fined under the dark folds of cloth, to which, herfe 
and there, filaments of moss adhered. 

One of the horses suddenly shook itself behind 
Sinin; he himself involuntarily trembled from 
head to foot. Everything in him was in utter 
confusion— his nierves were tense as guitar- 
strings. Truly had he said that he did not know 
himself. . . . He really was bewitdied. His 
^wilok being was full of one .... one thought, 
one desire. Mdrya Nikolaevna darted a piercing 
glance at him. ** Now, then, everjiliing is as it 

224 



SPRING FRESHETS 

Bhould be/'— she said, putting on her hat. 
" Won't you sit down? Yonder I No; wait .... 
don't sit down. What's that?" 

Through the crests of the trees, through the 
air of the forest, rolled a dull vibration. 

" Can that be thunder? " 

" Apparently, it is thunder,"— replied Sinin. 

'' Akh, yes, this is a feast-day! simply a feast- 
day 1 That was the only thing that was lack- 
ing I "—A dull roar resounded once again, 
rose— and fell in a ]ptal.—'' Bravot Bist Dp 
you remember I was telling you last night about 
the iEneid? The thunder caught them in the 
forest also, you know. But we must go."— She 
rose hastily to her feet.— "Lead up my horse. 
. . . Hold out your hand. That 's it. I aqi 
not heavy." 

She soared into her saddle like a bird. SiUiin 
also mounted his horse. 

" Are you going home? "—he asked, in an unr 
steady voice. 

"Yes— homel!" she replied, slowly, gathr 
ering up her reins.— "Follow me,"— she com- 
manded, almost roughly. 

She rode out upon the road, and passing the 
red cross, descended into a hollow, readied the 
cross-roads, turned to the right, and began again 
to ascend. . . . She evidently knew whither the road 
led— and the road led deeper, ever deeper, into 
the fastnesses of the forest. She said nothing, 

225 



SPKTNG FRESHETS 

and did not look behind her; she moved on impels 
riouslj in advance— * and he followed her obedi- 
ently and meekly, without a shadow of will in hift 
siftkirtg h eart. A fine rain began to drizzle down. 
Sbeiiastened the gait of her horse, and he kept 
up with her. At last, athwart the dark verdure 
of* the fir-shrubs, from beneath a projection of a 
grey cliff, there peeped out at him a wi^etched 
wjAtdunan's hut, with a low-browed door in' the 
wattled wall. . . • Mdrya Nikolievna made, her 
horse force its way through the biishes^ sprang 
off— and» finding herself suddenly at the en*: 
tntnoe of the hut, she turned to Sdnin— and 
whispered : " ^neas I " 

!Pt)UE hours later, Mdrya Nikoldevna and Sanin, 
accompanied by the groom, who was dozing in his 
saddle, returned to Wiesbaden, to the hotel. Mr. 
Folozoff met his wife, holding in his hands the 
letter to the steward. But after having scruti- 
nised her more attentively, he expressed on his 
countenance a certain dissatisfaction— and even 
muttered:— " Can it be that I have lost my 
wage r? " 

Mdrya Nikoldevna merely shrugged her shoul- 
ders. 

'Akb on that same day, two hours later, Sanin 
stood before her, in his own room, like a dis- 
tracted, a ruined man. • • • 

226 



SFBJNG TRBSHETS 

** Whither art -thod going? "—she 'asked -ihini. 
" To Paris, or to Frankftirt? " » !» ». 

'" I am going ^her^ thou wilt be ^ and I. shall 
be with thee, until thou dmest me away^^Vrrhe;*- 
plied, with despair, and fell to kissing .the! hands 
of his sovereign. She released them^ laid tbsin on 
his head*--and grasped his hair with aU'^ten fifa- 
gers. She slowly drew her fingers through and 
twisted that unresisting hair, and drew herself up 
to her full height: triiunph curled serjpent^like 
about her lips, and her eyes, wide, and bright to 
whiteness, expressed only the pitiless stolidity aiid 
satiety of victory. The hawk which is clawing 
a captured bird has such eyes; ' 

XLIII 

•That was what Dmitry Sanin recalled, wheiv 
in the silence of his study, as he rummaged 
among his old papers, he found with them the 
Uttle garnet cross. The events which we hav^ 
narrated rose clearly and in their proper order 
befdre his mental vision, k . . But on arriving 
at the minute when he turned with such a humi^ 
iating entreaty to Madame Pdlozoff, when he 
threw himself in self -murender beneath her' feet, 
when his servitude began,— he turned away from 
the images which he had evoked, he did not wish 
to recall anything further. Not that his mem- 
ory had played him false— oh, nol he knew, 

22T 



SPEING FRESHETS 

he knew but too well, what had followed that 
minute, but shame stifled him; even now, so 
many years afterward, he was frightened by 
the feeling of invinciUe scorn for himself, v^iidi 
would, inevitably,— of that he could have mo 
doubts-surge in upon him and drown, like a 
flood, JEdl other sensations, the moment he should 
cease to bid his memory to hold its peace. But 
turn away as he would from ihe rising memories, 
he could not wholly stifle them. He remembered 
the abominable, tearful, lying, pitiful letter 
wfaidi he had despatched to Gemma, and whieh 
had remained unanswered. . . . Present himself 
before her, return to her, after such a deception, 
after such treachery— no! no! he had enough con- 
science and honour left in him for that. More- 
over, he had lost all confidence in himself, all 
respect for himself^ he dared not vouch for any- 
thing. Sanin also recalled how, later on, he— oh, 
disgrace!— had sent P61ozoff's lackey for his 
things in Frankfurt, how cowardly he had been, 
how he had thought only of one thing: to go 
away to Paris as promptly as possible— to Paris; 
how, at the bidding of Mdrya NikoUievna, he had 
fawned on and humoured IppoHt Sfdoritch^and 
had been amiable to Donhof , on whose finger he 
noticed precisely the same sort of iron ring whidi 
Mdrya NikoUevna had given to himl 1 1 Then 
the m^nories became still worse, still more shamed 
«fid» • • « A waiter hands him a visiting-card, 

228 



SPRING FRESHETS 

and on it stands the name of Pantaleone Cippa- 
tola. Court Singer to his Royal Highness the 
Duke of Modenal He hides from the old man, 
but cannot avoid encountering him in the corri- 
dor—and there rises up before him the incensed 
face, beneath the upward-curling grey crest; the 
aged eyes flame like coals of fire— and menacing 
exclamations and curses: '^Maledizione!'' and 
even terrible words become audible: "Codardot 
Infame traditore! *' S&nm screws up his eyes, 
diakes his head, turns away again and again -^ 
and nevertheless, he beholds himself sitting in 
the travelling-carriage, on the narrow front seat. 
• . • • On the back seats, the comfortable seats, 
sit Mdrya Nikoldevna and Ippolit Sidoritdi— 
four horses are proceeding at a brisk trot over the 
pavements of Wiesbaden— to Paris! to Paris I 
Ippolit Sfdoritch is eating a pear, which he, 
Sinin, has peeled, and Mdrya Nikoldevna is look- 
ing at him— and laughing with that sneering 
laugh which is already familiar to him, the en- 
slaved man,— the sneering laugh of a sovereign 
owner. • • • 

But, oh, my Godl yonder, at the corner of ihe 
street, not far from the egress from the town, is 
not that Pantaleone standing there again— and 
ipdio is it with him? Can it be Emilio? Yes, *t is 
he, that enthusiastic, devoted lad I Not long ago 
his youthful heart was worshipping before its 
hero, its ideal— but now, his pale, handsome face 

2R 



SPRING FBBSHETS 

—so ];iand8ome that Mirya Nikolaevna obserred 
it, and even thrust her head out of the carriage- 
window— his noble face is Mazing with wralh 
and scorn; his eyes— how like thoH eyes!— are 
eagerly riveted upon Sdnin, and his lips are com- 
pre/ssed • . . and suddenly open, to emit insult • . • . 

And Pantaleone stretches forth his hand« and 
points out SAnin— to whom? to Tartaglia, who 
is standing by, and Tartaglia barks at Sania— 
and the very bark of the honest dog rings out 
like an intolerable affront. ... 'T is monstrousi 
., And then— that sojo^m in Paris— and all the 
hu^uliations, all the loatibsome tortures of the 
slave, who is not permitted to be jealous, or. to 
complain, and who is finally discarded, like a 
worn-out garment. . • • 

: Then— the return to his native land, the poi- 
soned, devastated life, the petty bustle, the pettjr 
c^res, repentance bitter and fruitless— and foiv 
getfulness equally bitter and fruitless— a pun- 
ishment not evident, but incessant and of every 
jpcLoment, like an insignificant but incurable paib, 
paying off, kopek by kopek, a debt which cannot 
be calculated. ... 

The cup is filled to overflowing— enough! 

How had the little cross, given to Sdnin by 
Gkmma, escaped, why had not he sent it back, 
how had it happened that, until that day, he had 
never even once come across it? Long, long did 

88Q 



SPRING FRESHETS 

he sit immersed in thought— and already taught 
hy experience, in the course of aU tfadsei yeart, 
he still was not able to comprehend how he <iould 
have abandoned Grcmma, whom he so tenderly 
and passionately loved, for a woman ^om he 
did not love at all! ... On the following day, 
he astonished all his friends and acquiaintances: 
he announced to them that he was going abroad. 
The surprise extended to society. Sinin quit 
Petersburg in the heart of winter, after having 
just hired and furnished a capital apartment, 
and even subscribed to the performances of the 
Italian opera, in which Madame Patti herself— 
Madame Patti herself, herself, herself!— waa 
taking part! His friends and acquaintances 
were puzsled. But people, in general, do not oc- 
cupy themselves for long with other people*s af- 
fairs; and when Sdnin set out for foreign parts, 
no one but his French tailor went to the railway 
station to see him off —and that in the hope of re- 
ceiving piayment for his little account— '^ pour un 
Baute-^enAxxtque en velours noir,tout a fait chic.^ 

XLIV 

Sanin had told his friends that he was going 
abroad— but he had not told them precisely 
where. The reader will easily divine that he jour- 
neyed straight to Frankfurt. Thanks to the 
universal diffusion of railways, he was in Frank- 

281 



SPRING FRESHETS 

fart on the fourth day after his departure from 
Petersburg. He had not visited it since the year 
1840. The "White Swan" inn stood on its 
former site, although it was no longer regarded 
as firstrclass. The Zeily the principal thorough* 
fare of Frankfurt, had undergone little altera- 
tion, but not only was there no trace of Signora 
iRoselli's house— the very street in which her con- 
fectionery shop had stood had disappeared. Sa- 
nin roamed like a half-witted person about the 
localities which he had once known so well — and 
recognised nothing; the former buildings had 
vanished; they had been superseded by new 
streets, lined with huge, close-set houses, with 
elegant villas; even the public park, where his last 
explanation with Gkmma had taken place, had 
grown up and changed to such an extent that 
Sdnin asked himself— is it really the same park? 
What was there for him to do? How and where 
was he to make inquiries? Thirty years had 
passed since then. « • It was no easy affair! No 
matter to whom he applied— no one had even 
heard the name of Roselli. The landlord of the 
inn coimselled him to i;nake inquiries at the public 
library; there he would find all the old news- 
papers, but what advantage he would derive 
therefrom . the landlord himself could not ex- 
plain. Sinin, in despair, inquired about Herr 
Kliiber. That name was well known to the la^d^ 
lord,~but here, also, he was imsuccessful. The 

282 



SPRING FRESHETS 

elegant clerk, after having made considerable 
noise in the world, and risen to the vocation of 
a capitalist, had failed in business, become bank- 
rupt, and died in jail. . • • This news did not, 
however, cause Sdnin the slightest pain. He had 
already begun to regard his trip as rather fool- 
ish ••• • but, lo, one day, as he was turning 
over the Frankfurt directory, he came upon the 
name of von Donhof, retired major (Major 
a. D.). He immediately summoned a carriage, 
and drove to him— although why should this von 
D6nhof , infallibly, be that von Donhof, and why 
even should that von Donhof be able to impart 
to him any news about the Roselli family? 
Never mind; a drowning man clutches at a straw- 
Sdnin found the retired Major von DSnhof 
at home— and in the grizzled gentleman who re- 
ceived him, he immediately recognised his former 
antagonist. And the latter recognised him, and 
even rejoiced at his appearance. It reminded 
him of his youth— and his youthful pranks. Sd- 
nin heard from him that the Roselli family had, 
long since, emigrated to America, to New York; 
that G^mma had married a merchant; that he, 
Donhof, moreover, had an acquaintance, who was 
a]3o a merchant, who probably knew the hus- 
band's address, as he had large dealings with 
America. Sdnin asked Donhof to go t^ that ac- 
quaintance—and—oh, joy!— Donhof brought 
him the address of Grcmma's husband, Mr. Jere- 

288 



SPRING FRESHETS 

miah Slocum, No. 501 Broadway, New YorL-^- 
Only, the address was of the year 1868. 

"Let us hope,"— exclaimed Donhof,— " that 
our fprmer Frankfurt beauty is still alive, and 
has not left New York! By the way,"— he 
added, lowering his voice, " and how about that 
Russian lady who was then staying in Wiesbaden, 
you remember— Madame von Bo • • . . von 
BolowSff— is she still alive?" 

" No,"— replied Sanin,— "she died long ago." 
Donhof raised his eyes— but, perceiving that 
Sdnin had turned away, and was frowning,— he 
did not add another word— and withdrew. 

That very day S^nin despatched a letter to Mrs. 
Gremma Slocum, in New York. In the letter, he 
told her that he was writing from Frankfurt, 
whither he had come, solely with the object of 
looking her up; that he was fully conscious to 
what a degree he was destitute of every right 
to a reply from h^r; that he in no way deserv^ 
her forgiveness— and only hoped that she, amid 
the happy environment in which she found 
herself, had long since forgotten his very exis- 
tence. He added that he had decided to recall 
himself to her memory, in consequence of an ac- 
cidental .occurrence, which had aroused too viv- 
idly in him. the images of the past; he told her 
the story of his life, solitary, without family, joy- 
less; he adjured her to understand the causes 

284 



SPRING FRESHETS 

whidi had impelled him toiaddi^ss himself to heif, 
not to allow him to carry with him into the grave 
the painful consciousness of his fault— long since 
atoned for by sufferings but not forgiven— and to 
make him glad if only with the briefest infor- 
mation as to what her life was like in that New 
World, whither she had removed. "By writing 
me even a single word,"— thus did Sdnin wind 
up his letter,—" you will be doing a good deed, 
worthy of your beautiful soul,— and I shall thank 
you until my last breath. I am stopping here at 
the White Swan inn" (he underlined these 
words) " and shall wait,— wait until spring for 
youi^ reply." 

He sent off this letter,— and settled down to 
wait. Six whole weeks did he live in the inn, 
hardly going outside of his room, and seeing 
absolutely no one. No one could write to him 
from Russia, or from anywhere else; and that 
was to his taste; if a letter were to come addressed 
to him, he would know at once that it was it— 
the one for which he was waiting. He read from 
morning until night— and not newspapers, but 
serious books, historical works. This prolonged 
course of reading, this mute stillness, this snail- 
like, hidden existence— were all exactly suited to 
his spiritual mood ; and for this alone, thanks to 
Gemma! But was she alive? Would she answer? 

At last a letter arrived— bearing an American 
stamp— from New York, addressed to him. The 

S85 



SPRING FRESHETS 

handwriting of the address on the envelope was 
English. . • . He did not recognise it, and his 
heart contracted. He could not at once make 
up his mind to break open the packet. He 
glanced at the signature: " Genmia! " The tears 
gushed from his eyes. The mere fact that she 
had signed with her name, omitting her sur- 
name, served him as a pledge of reconciliation, 
of pardon ! He spread out the thin sheet of note- 
paper— a photograph slipped from it. He has- 
tily picked it up— and was fairly dumfounded: 
Genmia, the living Gremma, as young as he had 
known her thirty years ago! The selfsame eyes, 
the selfsame lips, the same type of the whole 
face! On the back of the photograph was writ- 
ten: " My daughter Marianna." The whole let- 
ter was very simple and affectionate. Gemma 
thanked Sdnin for not having hesitated to ad- 
dress her, for having had faith in her. She did 
not ccmceal from him, either, the fact that she 
really had lived through painful moments after 
his flight, but she immediately added that, never- 
theless, she regarded— and always had regarded 
— her meeting with him as a happiness— since that 
meeting had prevented her becoming the wife 
of Herr Kliiber— and so, although indirectly, 
it had been the cause of her marriage to her pres- 
ent husband, with whom she was now living f<^ 
the cight-and-twentieth year, in complete felicity, 
in comfort and luxury. Their house was known 

286 



SPRING FRESHETS 

t6 all New York. Gemma informed Sdnin that 
die had five diildren— four sons and one daugh* 
ter, a girl of eighteen, engaged to be married, 
whose photograph she sent him— as she, accord-^ 
ing to universal opinion, greatly resembled her 
mother* Gremma kept her sad news for the end 
tof her letter. Frau Lenore had died in New 
York, whither she had f oUowed her daughter and 
soA-in-law— but had been able to rejoice in their 
happiness, and dandle her grandchildren on her 
knee. Pantaleone had also prepared to go to 
America, but had died just before he was to have 
left Frankfurt. "And Emilio— our dear, incom- 
parable Emilio— died a glorious death for the 
freedom of his native land, in Sicily, whither he 
went among that * Thousand ' who were led by 
the great Garibaldi; we all fervently lamented 
the death of our inestimable brother; but even 
as we wept, we were proud of him— and shall al- 
ways be proud of him and hold his memory sa- 
cred ! His lofty, unselfish soul was worthy of the 
martyr's crown!" Then G^mma expressed her 
regret that Sdnin's life had— apparently— fallen 
into such unpleasant places, wished him first of 
all solace and spiritual tranquillity, and said that 
she should be glad to see him again— although 
she was aware that such a meeting was hardly 
probable. • . • 

We will not undertake to depict the sensations 
experienced by Sinin, on perusing this letter^ 



SPRING FRESHETS 

Tbere is no satisfactory expression £br such feel- 
ings: they are deeper and more sacried— and more 
indefinite-^than any word. Music alone would 
be compet^it to transmit them. 

Sdnin replied immediately --and sent as a gift 
to the bride— "To Marianna Slocum» from an 
unknown friend "—the garnet cross, mounted 
on a magnificent pearL necklace. This gift, al- 
though very valuable, did not ruin him. In the 
course of the thirty years which had elapsed since 
his first sojourn in Frankfurt, he had succeeded 
in acqtiiring a considerable fortune. Early in 
May he returned to Petersburg— but probably 
not for long. It is nunoured that he is selling 
off all his property— and making ready to go to 
America. 



» ♦ .! 



C88 



KNOCK . . . KNOCK . . . KNOCK 

A STUDY 

(1870) 




A juyj\ . 



vn r"r> / 



:i 



:' /. 



KNOCK . . . KNOCK . . . KNOCK •. • 

A STUDY 



WE all seated ourselves in a circle, and our 
good friend Alexander Vasilievitch Rie- 
del (he had a German surname, but he :iras a bom 
and bred Russian) began as follows: 

I will relate to you, gentlemen, an incident 
which happened to me in the thirties . ., . • forty 
years ago, as you see. I will be brief —a^d ypi;i 
must not interrupt me. 

I was living in Petersbiu-g at the time, and had 
only just come out of the university. My brother 
was serving in the horse-guard artillery, with the 
rank of ensign. His batteiy was stationed at 
Krisnoe $el6,^— it was in sununer. My brother 
wa£ ndt quartered in Krdsnoe Sel6 proper, but in 
one of the adjacent hamlets. I was his guest 
more than once, and had becomp well acquainted 
with all his comrades. He was lodged in a f airly- 
dean cottage together with another oflScer be- 

1 Literally, '* Red Village,** situated sixteen miles from St Peters- 
burg. A snminer resort, but chiefly known as the site of the great 
samtner camp and manaeuvrlng^ground.—TftAirsLAToa. 

^41 



KNOCK . . . KNOCK . . . KNOCK . - . 

longing to his battery. This officer's name was 
Tyegleflf, Ilya Stepanitch. I became particu- 
larly intiniate with him. 

Mdrlinsky has become old-fashioned now; no 
one reeds him, and people evert ridicule him; iKft 
in the thirties he made more noise than any one 
else, and Pushkin— according to the ideas of the 
youth of that period— could not be compared 
with him. He not only enjoyed the glory of be- 
ing the leading Russian writer, he even effected 
what is far more difficult, and more rarely cpi- 
countered— he imprinted his stamp upon the gen- 
eration contemporaneous with him. Heroes i 
la MarUnsky were cropping up in every direc- 
tion, and especially among army and artillery 
officers; they conversed and corresponded in his 
language; in society they maintained a gloomy, 
reticent mien, with " a storm in the soul, and a 
flame in the blood," like Lieutenant Byelo26r of 
"The Frigate Hope." Female hearts wew 
" devoured " by them. The epithet " fatal " was 
then invented for them. This type, as every one 
knows, persisted for a long time, until the date oif 
Petch6rin.^ What all did not that type contain? 
Bjnronism and romanticism; reminiscences of the 
French Revolution and the Decembrists^— aiid 

^ The hero of lAaatimXofC% fiunous novel ** A Hero of Our Timet.** 

— TlAirSLATOft. 

*Tlie conspirators who made trouble on the accession to the 
throne of the Emperor Nicholas I, in December, 1836. The Grand 
Duke Constantine should have succeeded his brother Alexander I; 
but he renounced the succession in order to marry a Polish woman* 

242 



KNOCK . . . KNOCK . . . KNOCK i • ; 

adoration of Napoleon. Faith in Fate, in one's 
star, in the force of character, of pose, and of 
^ase— and the anguish of futility; the dis^ 
quieting agitations of petty self-love— and actual 
force and daring; noble aspirations, and bad 
hringing-up, and ignorance; aristocratic manners 
—and a flaunting of toys. . . But enough of 
philosophising! • • • I have promised to narrate. 

II 

StJB-LiEUTENANT Ty^wlefp belonged precisely 
to that category of " fatal " men, although he did 
not possess the exterior attributed to those per- 
sons: for example, he bore not the slightest re- 
semblance to L6rmontoflf's " fatalist." He was 
a man of medium height, of decidedly thick-set 
build, with high cheek-bones, and fair-haired, 
almost tow-headed; he had a round, fresh, red- 
dieeked face, a snub-nose, a low forehead over- 
grown with hair on the temples, and large, regu- 
lar lips which were eternally motionless; he never 
laughed or even smiled. Only from time to time, 
when he was fatigued and heaved a sigh, did his 
square teeth, white as sugar, become visiWe. The 
same artificial impassivity was spread over all 
his features. Had it not been for that they would 

No one knew of this renunciation except the Dowager Empress, 
Alexander I, and Constantine. Revolutionists took advantage of 
the oraddle arising from Nicholas's ignorance of his rights, and so 
forth. — TaA NSLAToa. 

B48 



KNOCK . . . KNOCK . . . KNOCK . •♦ 

hiave revealed themselves as good-natured. Th? 
only thing about his whole face that was not per- 
fectly ordinary was his eyes, which were not 
large, and had greenish pupils and yellow eye- 
lashes. The right eye was a trifle higher up 
than the left, which imparted to his gaze a 
certain diversity, strangeness, and drowsiness. 
Tyiegleff's physiognomy was not devoid, how- 
ever, of a certain agreeability, and almost 
always expressed satisfaction with a dash of 
perplexity, just as though he were internally pur- 
suing some cheerless thought which he. could not 
possibly catdi. Notwithstanding all this, he did 
not produce the impression of an arrogant per- 
son: one would have taken him for a wounded 
rather than a haughty man. He talked very lit- 
tle, falteringly, in a hoarse voice, and with un- 
necessary repetitions of words. Contrary to the 
majority of fatalists, he did not employ pecu^ 
liarly-whimsical expressions, and resorted tq 
them only in writing: he had a thoroughly child- 
ish cbirography. 

The authorities regarded him as a " so-so ** offi- 
cer,— not over-capable and not sufficiently zeal- 
ous. '' He is punctual but not methodical," was 
what W4S said of him by the general in command 
of the brigade— who was of German extractiop.^ 

1 Hie point is, that be used mongrel Russian —foreign words 
slightly Rnsslfled in fonnx ** punktualnost,** and '' accuratno^t**-* 

TiANSLATOa. 

2H 



KNOCK . • . KNOCK . . . KNOCK . . -• 

And for the soldiers, also, Tyegleff was " so^o '' 
^neither fish nor meat. He lived modestly, iii 
accordance with his means. He had been left a 
full orphan at the age of nine years: his father 
and mother had been drowned in the spring, in 
a freshet, as they were crossing the Okd on a 
ferry-boat. He had received his education in a 
private boarding-school, where he was consid- 
ered one of the very stupidest and most peace- 
able pupils. He had entered the horse-guard 
artillery at his own importunate desire, and on 
the reconunendation of his great-uncle, an in- 
fluential man, as yunker, and had paCssed the ex- 
aminations—though with difficulty— first for 
ensign and then for sub-lieutenant. His rela- 
tions with the other officers were strained. They 
did not like him and visited him rarely, and he! 
went to hardly any one. The presence of stran- 
gers embarrassed him; he immediately became 
minatural, awkward .... there was no comrade- 
ship in him, and he called no one " thou," and was 
called " thou " by no one. But he was respected; 
and m^n respected him not for his character or 
his brains and culture, but because they recog- 
nised in him that special seal wherewith " fatal " 
people are stamped. " TyegleflT wiD have a ca- 
reer; Tyegleflf will distinguish himself"— not 
one of his comrades expected that;— but " Tyeg- 
leff will cut up some remarkable caper," or 
^Ty6glcff will take and suddenly turn out a 

245 



KNOCK • . . KNOCK . . . KNOCK . - i 

Napoleon "—was not regarded as improbable. 
For there the " star " came into play, and he was 
a man "with a predestination"— as there are 
people " with a sigh '* and " with a tear.' 



, 99 



III 

Two incidents which marked the very beginning 
of his service as an officer aided greatly in jQrmly 
establishing his reputation as a man of fate. 
Namely: on the very first day after he was pro- 
moted—about the middle of March— he was 
walking along the quay in full uniform, in com- 
pany with other officers who had just been re-j 
leased from examination. That year spring ha4 
come early, the Nevi had broken up; huge floes 
of ice had already passed down, but the whole 
river was dammed with fine, dense ice soaked with 
water. The young men were chatting and laugh-^ 
ing . .. • when suddenly one of them stopped 
short; he had descried on the slowly-moving sur- 
face of the river, about twenty paces from the 
shore, a tiny dog. Having clambered upon a 
projecting block of ice, it was trembling all over 
and whining. " Why, it will surely perish,*'— 
said the officer through his teeth. The dog was 
being carried slowly past one of the descents con* 
structed along the quay. Suddenly Ty6gleff, 
without saying a word, ran down that descent^ 
and leaping along over the thin ice, tumbljpg 

246 



KNOCK • . . KNOCK . . . KNOCK . . . 

and skipping, he reached the dog, seized it by its 
neck, and, having regained the shore in safety, 
fluiig it on the pavement. The danger to whidi 
Ty6glefr had exposed himself was so great, his 
deed had been so unexpected, that his comrades 
were fairly petrified with astonishment, and only 
when he called a drozhky, in order to drive home, 
did they begin to speak all together. His whole 
uniform was wet. In reply to their exclamations, 
Ty6gleff remarked indifferently that a man 
cannot avoid what is written in his fate— and 
ordered the cabman to drive on. 

** But take the dog with thee as a memento," 
—shouted one of the officers after him. But 
Tyigleff merely waved his hand, and his com- 
rades exchanged glances of dumb amazement. 

The other incident occurred a few days later, 
at a card-party given by the commander of the 
battery. Tyeglefi^ was sitting in a comer, and 
was not taking part in the game. '' Ekh, if only 
my grandmother had told me in advance which 
eurds were destined to win, as in Pushkin's 
* Queen of Spades*!"— exclaimed one of the en- 
signs^ who had dropped his third thousand. Tyeg- 
leff silently stepped up to the table, took up the 
pack of cards, cut, and saying: " The six of dia- 
monds! "—turned up the pack. On the bottom 
was the six of diamonds.—" The ace *)f clubs! " 
—he proclaimed, and cut again. On the bottom 
was the ace of clubs.—" The king of diamonds I " 

24T 



.KNOCK . . . KNOCK ... KNOCK . • 

—he spoke for the third time, in an etiergetv 
whisper, through his set teeth. He had guessec 
,rigbt for the third time .... and suddenly 
flushed crimson all over. Probably he himsdl 
had not expected it. 

"A capital trick 1 Show us another/*— re 
marked the battery commander. 

"^ I do not deal in tricks," replied Tyegleff 
drily, and went out into the adjoining room 
How it came about that he managed jto guess thi 
card in advance, I will not undertake to explain 
but I saw it with my own eyes. After him man] 
of the players present tried to do the same thing 
and no one succeeded. A man could guess; am 
card, but two cards in succession— not by an] 
means; while Tyegleff had guessed three 1 Thii 
! affair still further confirmed his reputation a 
[ a mysterious man' of fate. The thought fie 
quently occurred to me afterward that if his tricl 
with cards had not proved successful, who knowi 
what turn his. reputation would have taken, anc 
how would he have looked upon himself? Bui 
that unexpected success definitively settled tin 
matter. 

IV 

r • • ■• ■ •" 

; Natuh^^ly, Tyegleff iIIu^ediately dutcfaec 

.. hohl df that reputation. It confeired upon hiii 

special, iinp(»rtanoei special colouring, , . " Cek 

248 



•KNOCK . . . KNOCK . . . KNOCK . .u 

fe posait/^—&8 the French say,— and with his lim- 
ited mind, insignificant attainments, and vast con- 

. ceit, such a reputation was ej^actly to his taste. 

I To acquire it was difficult, but it cost nothing to 
maintain it: all he had to do was to hold his 

L tongue and look ferocious. 

But it was not in consequence of this reputa- 
tion that I became intimate with Tyigleff and, I 
may say, conceived an affection for him. I 
loved him, in the first place, because he was a well- 
bred eccentric, and I saw in him a kindred soul; 
and, in the second place, because he was a kind 
man and, in reality, very simple-hearted. He in- 
spired me with something in the nature of com- 
palssion; it seemed to me that, setting aside his 
fancied fatalis m, a tragic fate really was impend- 
ing over^him^whi^ !did Cpi.AUapect 
AsIbl matter of course,* I did not mtotioh that 
feeling to him. Can there be anything more in- 
sulting to a " man of destiny " than compassion? 
And Tyegleff felt a liking for me : he was at his 
ease witlj me, he conversed with me,— in my pres^ 
enoe he used to make up his mind to abandon 
that strange pedestal upon which he Had acci- 
dentally half fallen,. half clambered. .Although 
torturingly, painfully conceited, it may be he ad- 
mitted, in the bottom of his soul, that his conceit 
was in no way justifiable, and that others were, in 
all probability, looking, down upon him . . . , while 
I, a lad of n ineteen, did not embarrass him. The 

249 



J5:N0CK . . . KNOCK . • . KNOCK . . • 

fear of saying something stupid or inappropri^ 
ate did not contract his ever-watchful heart in 
imy presence. He even fell into loquacity at 
j times; and lucky it was for him that no one ex- 
! cept myself heard his speeches! His reputation 
i_would not have lasted loi^g. He not only knew 
very little,— he hardly read anything, and con- 
fined himself to picking up appropriate anec- 
dotes and stories. He believed in forebodings, 
predictions, signs, meetings ; in lucky and unlucky 
days, in the persecution or benignity of fate,— in 
the significance of life, in one word. He even 
believed in certain "climacteric years" which some 
one had mentioned in his presence, and the mean- 
ing whereof he did not thoroughly understand. 
Grcnuine men of destiny should not express sudi 
beliefs: they must inspire other people with thenu 
• • • But I alone knew Tyegleff from that side. 



One day— it was on St Ilyi's day, July 20,* 
I remember— I went to visit my brother and did 
not find him at home; he had been ordered off 
somewhere for a whole week. I did not wish 
to return to Petersburg. I trudged about the 
neighbouring marshes with my gun, killed a brace 

> Or Elijah, on August 9, N. S. Generally on that day there are 
terrific thunder-fltorms, which the Russian people say are caused bj 
the prophet asoendinf to hearen in his fiery chariot— Tbaitslaiimu 

250 



KNOCK . . . KNOCK . . . KNOCK • . ^ 

of woodcock^ and passed the evening with Tyeg- 
leff under the shed of an empty wagon-house, in 
which he had set up, as he expressed it, his sumr 
mer residence. We chatted about various things, 
but chiefly drank tea, smoked our pipes, and 
talked now with the landlord, a Russified Finn, 
now with a pedlar who was roaming around the 
battery, a seller of ''goo*o-od 'ranges and lem- 
ons," a nice fellow and droll, who, in addition to 
other talents, knew how to play on the guitar, and 
told us about the unhappy love which he had 
cherished in " babyhood "'* for the daughter of a 
policeman. On attaining maturity this Don 
Juan in a shirt of cotton print had no longer ex- 
perienced any unfortunate attadiments. 

In front of the gate of our wagon-shed a broad 
ravine spread out, which gradually grew deeper 
and deeper; a tiny rivulet sparkled in places in 
the windings of the rift. Further away, on the 
horizon, low forests were visible. Night ap- 
proached and we were left alone. Along with 
the night there descended upon the earth a thin, 
damp vapour which, spreading more and more 
widely, was eventually converted into a dense fog. 
The moon rose in the sky; the whole fog became 
permeated through and through, and gilded, as 
it were, by its rays. Everything was transposed, 
muffled up and entangled, as it were; the distant 

1 The pedlar is, evidently, a Jew, and gets his words 
mixed. — Ta akblatoe. 

251 



f 



KNOCK . . . KNOCK . . . KNOCK . . • 

appeared near» the near distant, the large ap* 
Reared small, the small large . . . • everything 
became bright and indistinct. We seeihed to 
have been transported into a fairy realin, to the 
realm of whitish-gold fog, of profound stillness, 
of sensitive sleep. . • . And how mysterioudy, 
-^sdth what silvery sparks, did the stars pierce 
through overhead! We both fell silent. The 
f hntastie aspect of that night took effect upon 

us: it attuned us to the fantastic 

i. 

VI 

TY:feoLEFF was the first to speak, with his custom- 
ary hitches, breaks, and repetitions, about fore- 
'Wlingsr .... about visions. On just such a 
night, according to his statement, one of his ac- 
<}uaintiinces, a student who had just entered on 
his duties as governor to two orphans, and had 
been lodged with them in a separate pavilion, had 
beheld a female figure bending over their beds, 
and on the following day had recognised that fig- 
ure in a portrait, hitherto unperceived by hiitt, 
which depicted the motiier of those same orphans. 
Then Ty^gleff declared that his parents, for the 
space of several days before their death, had 
constantly thought they heard the sound of 
water; that his grandfather had escaped death 
in the battle of Borodino, through having seen a 
white pebble on the ground and stooped to pick it 

252 



KNDGKvi . . KNOCK . • . KNOCK ; .;; 

up— and at that same moment a grape-shot had 
flown past over his head and broken off his long 
Mack plume. Tyegleff even promised to: show 
me that same pebble which had saved his grandr 
father, and had been inserted by him in a locket. 
Then he alluded to the vocation of every man, 
and his own in particular, adding that he believed 
in it up to that moment, and that if at any time 
doubts should arise within him concerning it, he 
wctuld know how to rid himself of them and otf 
his life, for life would then have lost all signifi* 
cance for him. " Perhaps you think"— said he, 
casting a sidelong glance at me— '^ that I have 
not sufficient courage for that ? You do not. know 
me. ... I have an iron will." 

"Well said,"--I thought to myself. 

Tyegleff became thoughtful, heaved a deep 
sigh, and dropping his pipe from his hand, he in- 
Jformed me that that was an important day for 
him.— "This is St. Ily^'s day,— my name-day. 
.... This .... this is always a painful time 
for me." . * 

I made no reply and merely stared at him (as he 
sAt in front of me, bent double, round-shouldered, 
clumsy, with sleepy and glo<Hny gaze riveted on 
the ground. 

" To-day "—he went on—" an old b^ggax-wo- 
man " (Tyegleff never let a single beggar p^as 
him without bestovring alms) " told me that she 
would pray for my soul. ... Is n't tibat strange? " 

.258 



KNOCK . . . KNOCK • . . KNOCK . • • 

** What possesses a man to worry about himself 
all the time? "—I thought to myself. But I am 
bound to add that of late I had begun to notice 
ah unusual expression of anxiety and trepidation 
on Tyegkff's face, and it was not the mdan^- 
choly of a man of destiny; something was really 
distressing and tortiuring him. On this occasion, 
also, I was struck by the despondency which wa« 
spread over his features. Could it be that those 
doubts to which he had alluded were already be- 
ginning to arise within him? Tyigleff's C(Hn* 
rades had told me that not long before he had 
handed to the authorities a project for certain 
thorough reforms "connected with the gtm- 
carriages/' and that that project had been 
returned to him "with an inscription," that is 
to say, with a reproof. Knowing his character, 
I did not doubt that such scorn on the part 
of the authorities had wounded him deeply. 
But that which I discerned in Tyegleff was 
more akin to sadness, had a more personal 
tinge. 

" But it is growing damp,"— he suddenly said, 
shrugging his shoulders. " Let us go into the 
cottage— and it is time to go to bed." 

He had a habit of twitching his shoulders and 
turning his head from side to side, exactly as 
though his neckcloth were too tight, clutching at 
his throat the while. Tyegleff *s character was 
expressed— at least, so it seemed to me— in that 

254 



KNOCK . . . KNOCK . . - KNOCK . . , 

anxious and nervous motion. Things were too 
tight for him in the world also. 

We returned to the cottage and lay down, each 
of us on the wall-bench— he in the fair corner,* 
I in the front comer, on hay, which we had spread 
out 

VII 

TYifeouEFF'tossed about restlessly for A long time 
on his bench, and I could not get to sleep. Whe- 
ther it was that his stories had excited my nerves, 
or that that night had irritated my blood, I do 
uot know;— only, I could not get to sleep. Every 
desire for sleep even Vanished at last, and I lay 
with wide-open eyes and thought,— thought in- 
tently, God knows about what: about the veriest 
nonsense, as is always the case during an attack 
of insomnia. As I tossed from side to side I threw 
out my arms. . . • My finger came in contact 
with one of the wall beams. A faint, but reso- 
nant and prolonged sound rang out. • • • I must 

\ have hit upon a hollow place. 

Again I tapped with my finger • • • . this 
time intentionally. The sound was repeated. I 
did it again. . . . Suddenly Tyegleff raised his 

\^head. 

"Riedel,"— he said,— *Misten; some one is 
knocking under the window.'* 

iTlic comer in which the holy pictures hang— the right-hand 
futber comer, fadng the entrance door.-^TaAVSLATOB. 

255 



n 



r 



KNOCK . . . KNOCK . . . KNOCK . . • 

I feigned to \k asleep. I was suddenly seized 
with the whim to make sport of my " fatal " com- 
panion. It made no difference— I could not 
sleep- 
He dropped his head on his pillow. I waited 
a little and again tapped three times in succes- 
sion. 

Again Tyegleff roseupi and began to listen. 

I knocked again. I was lying with n^y face 
toward him, but he could not see my hand. . . .. 
I had thrown it backwfird, under the coverlet. 

" Riedel! "-shouted Tyegleff. 

I did not respond. 

'^^liedel!"--hQ repeated loudly.-" Riedel I" 

"Hey? What is it?" I said, as though only 
half awi^ke. . 

"Don't you hear? Some one is knocking 
under the window. Shall we asik him into the 
cottage? " . i 

" Some wayfarer" - • . I faltered. 

"Then we must admit him, or fin^ out what 
sort of man he is!" 

But I did not reply again, and again feigned 
to b^ a^eep. 

Several minutes passed. ... Again I began 
my tricks. . . . 

" K];ioc)c .... knock • . • . knock! • . ." 

Through my half -closed eyelids, by the whit^ 
ish nocturnal light, I could observe his move- 
ments well. He kept turning his face now to- 

256 



KNOCK • . . KNOCK . . • KNOCK k ... 

ward the window, now: toward the.door. In fact, 
it was difficult tp distinguidb whence the sound 
proceeded: it seemed to fly around the room, as 
tiiough it were slipping along the walls, I had 
accidentally hit upon the acoustic chord. 
• " Knock . . . • knock .... knockl ..." 

" Riedell " shouted Ty6gleff at last—" Rie- 
dell Riedell" 

" Why, what is it? "—I said, yawning. 

'' Is it possible that you hear nothing? Some 
one is knocking." 

"Well, G}od be with him— I want nothing to 
do with him! "—I replied, and again pretended 
tbat I had fallen asleep^ I even, snored. .... 

Tyegleff quieted down. 

" Knock .... knock . . . .knockl . . ." 
/ " Who :$ there?"^shouted Tyegleff.—" Come 
iiit" ; :. 

As a matter of course, no one answered. 

" Knock .... knock . • . . knockl . . ." : 

Tyegleff sprang out of bcid, opened the win- 
dow, and thrusting out his. head, inquired in a 
fierce voice : " Who 's there? Who is knocking? " 
Then he opened the door and repeated his ques- 
tion. A horse neighed in the distance— and that 
was all. 
•He returned to his bed. - . ., 

" Knock .... knock .... knockl . . ." 

Tyegleff instantly tMrnc^d over and sat up. 
Knock .... knock • . , . knock! ..." . 
251 



€t 



y:> 



KNOCK . . . KNOCK • . . KNOCK . .^ 



VIII 

I HASTtiiY dressed myself and with Ty^gleff went 
out of the cottage. Opposite it, on the other 
side of the street, there were no houses, but a 
long wattled fence irtretched out, with breaches 
here and there, behind whidi began a decidedly- 
steep descent to the plain. The fog, as before, 
enveloped all objects, and hardly anything 
could be seen at a distance' of twenty paces. 
Ty^gleiff and I walked to \he wattled fence and 
halted. 

" Here now,** he said, dropping his head. 
" Stand still, be silent— and listen! " Like him, I 
bent my ear, and save the usual, extremely faint 
but imiversal nocturnal hum— that breathing of 
the night— I heard nothing. From time to time 
exchanging a glance, we stood there motionless 
for several minutes— and were already preparing 
to move on .... ' 

" Iliusha! '' I thought I heard a whisper from 
the other side of the fence. 

I glanced at Tyegleff , but he appeared riot to 
have heard anything, and held his head down- 
cast as before. 

" Iliusha .... hey, Iliusha . . . ." resounded 
more plainly than before— so plainly that one 
could understand that those words were uttered 
by a woman. 

260 



KNOCK .. . KNOCK .. I KNOCK 



r>W 



We both gave a start— and stared at each 
other. 

" What do you think of that? '' Ty^gleff asked 
me, m a whisper. " You will not doubt now? " 
• " Stay," I said to him, with equal softness^— 
"Wiat proves nothing as jret. We must look 
and see if there is not some one there— some 
jesxer. . .' • 

I leaped over the fence, and walked in the 
direction whence, so fiir as I was able to judge, 
the voice had proceeded. 

Under my feet I felt the soft, porous earth; 
long strips of vegetable^beds lost themsdves in 
the fog. I was in a vegetable-garden. But no- 
thing stirred around me, or in front of me. 
Everything seemed to be sunk in the numbness of 
deep. I advanced a few paces further. ' 
^ " Who is there ?'^ I shoiited to match Ty6gleff. 

" Pr-r-r-r ! *' A startled qtiail darted but from 
under my very feet, and flew away, as straight as 
a bullet. I involuntarily recoiled. . . . What 
nonsensel I glanced back. Ty^glelf Was visi- 
ble on the selfsame spot where I had left him. 
I approached him. 

" It will be useless for'y(m tb call," he *iid. 
* ■ That voice has readied us ... . me . . . from 
afar.'' 

^ He passed his hand over his face, and with 
i^uiet steps wended his way across the street 
homeward. But I would not give in so quickly, 

261 



JKNOCB' . ..i KNOCK . . • KNOCK • . k 

and returned to ihe .vegetable-garden. That 
some one had actually called " Iliusha " thrice I 
could not cherish the slightest doubt;.! was also 
forced to admit to myself that there had been 
something plaintive and mysterious in that call. 
. • . • But, who knows? Perhaps all that only 
seemed incomprehensible, but in refthty could be 
explained as simply as the knocking which had 
agitated Tyegleff. 

I walked along the wattled fence, pausing and 
looking around me from time to time. Close to 
the fence and not far from our cottage grew an 
aged, bushy white willow; it srtood out as a huge 
black spot in the midst of the universal whiteness 
of the fog, of that dim whiteness which blinds 
-^uid dulls the vision worse than darkness. Sud- 
denly I thought something of considerable size, 
tomething living, rolled over on the ground near 
that willow. With the exclamation: '' Haiti 
Who is there? " I dashed forward. Light foot- 
steps like those of a hare became audible; past 
me flitted a figure all bent double, whether of 
man or woman I could not distinguish. ... I 
tried to seize it, but did not s]ucoeed, stumbling 
and falling ajid buirQing my face in the nettles. 
Rising half-way and propping myself with my 
elbow on the ground, I felt something hard under 
my arm; it was a small carved brass comb <m a 
string, like those which our peasants wear in their 
belts. 

862 



KNOCK . . . KNOCK . . . KNOCK . , . 

Further researches on my part proved vain, 
and comb in hand and with nettle-burned cheeks 
I returned to the cottage. 

IX 

I FOUSD Ty6gleff sitting on the wall-bench. In 
front of him on the table burned a candle, and he 
was engaged in writing something in a small 
album which he carried constantly with him. On 
catching sight of me, he hastily thrust the tiny 
album into his pocket and began to fill his pipe. 

"Here, my dear fellow,"— I began,— ''see 
what a trophy I have brought back from* my 
campaign!" I showed him the little comb and told 
him what had happened to me under the willow. 
~" I must have scared a thief," I added. " Did 
you hear that our neighbour had had a horse 
itoldn last night? " 

Ty6^eff smiled coldly and lighted his pipe. I 
sat down by his side. 

" And you are still convinced, as before, Ilya 
Stepinitch,"— I said,—" that the voice which we 
heard had flown hither from those unknown re- 
gions • . • ." 

He stopped me with an imperious gestwe of 
his hand. 

" Riedel," he began,—" I am in no mood for 
jesting, and therefore I beg that you will not jest 
either." 

268 



KNOCK . . . KNOCK KNOCK . • • 

Ty6gleff really was in no mood for jesting. 
His face had undergone a change. It seemed 

r paler, more expressive. His strdiige, •^* mis- 
matched " eyes roved quietly. " I did not think," 
he began again,—" that I should ever conmiu- 
nicate to another .... another man that whidi 
you are about to hear, and which should haVe 
died .... yes, died in my breast; but, evi- 
dently, it is necessary— and I have no choice. 
■Tisfatel Listen." 
J r"- And he cbnrnfiunicated to me the whole story. 
/ ^ • • * ^ —- I have already told you, gentlemen, that he 
' was a bad narrator; but he impressed nde that 

^ ; night not alone by his ignorance of how to im- 
' part to me the events which had happened to him : 
the very sound of his voice, his looks, the move- 
ments which he made with his fingers and hands 
—everything about him, in a word, seemed un- 
natural, unnecessary, — spurious, in short.^ I was 
Btill very young and inexperienced, and did- not 
know that the habit of expressing one's self in a 
riietorical way, falsity of intonation and man- 
ners, may so corrode a man that he is no lon^r 
able to rid himself of it. It is a curse, in its way. 
I lately happened to meet a certain lady who nar- 
rated to me with such bombastic language, with 
such theatrical gestures, with such a tnelodra- 
matic shaking of the head and rolling up of the 
eyies, the impresiMon produced on her by the death 
of her son, her " immeasurable grief," her fewrs 



JSNOCK . . . KNOCK . . . KNOCK ./. v 

for her own reason, that I thought to myself: 
"How thut lady is l3dng and putting on airs I 
She did not love her son at all!" But a week 
later I learned that the poor woman actually had 
gone out of her mind. Ever since then I haVe 
been much more cautious in my judgments, and 
have trusted much less to my own impressions. 



TiiB story which Ty6gleff narrated to me was, 

, briefly, as follows :^In Petersburg— in addition 

Ifoiiis uncle, the dignitary r-dwelt an aunt of hi^ 

rnot a woman of great position, but possessed of 
{property. As she was childless, she had adopted 
a little girl, an orphan from the petty-burgher 
dass, had given her a suitable education^ and 
treated her like a daughter. The girl's name was 
" MasbfU Tyegleff had been in the habit of seeing 
0er almost every day. It ended in their falling 
jfk love with each other, and M^sha gave herself 
to him. This came to light. Tyegleff's aunt 
flew into a frightful rage, turned the unhappy 
girl, in disgrace, out of her house, and removed 
her residence to Moscow, where she took a young 
lady of the gentry as her nursling and heiress. 
On returning taiier former relations, poor and 
drunken people, M^sha endured a bitter fate. 
Tyegleffhad promised to marry her— and cjid not 
keep his promise. On the occasion of his last 



r 



KNOCK .. . KNOCK . . . KNOCK .. ;, 

meeting with her he ' was compelled to state his 
intentions. M&sha wanted to learn the truth— 
and she got it. 

" Well," she said, " if I am not to be thy wife, 
then I know what remains for me to do." More 
than a fortnight had elapsed after this last meet* 
ing. 

" Not for one minute have I deceived myself 
as to the meaning of her last words," added Ty6g- 
leff. " I am convinced that she has put an end 
to her life, and .... and that that was ker 
voice, that she was calling me thither • • . • after 
her. . . . I recognised her voice. . . . WelJ, 
't is all the same in the endl " 

" But why did not you marry her, Ilyd Stepd- 
nitch? " I asked. " Had you ceased to love her? " 

" No; to this hour I love her passionately." 

At this point, gentlemen, I stared with all my 
might at Tyegleff. I called to mind another of 
my acquaintances, a very intelligent man who, 
being the possessor of an extremely ill*favoured, 
stupid, and not wealthy wife, in reply to the ques- 
tion I had put to him: "Why had he married? 
Probably for love? "—had replied: " Not in the 
least for love! But it just happened sol " But 
here was Tyegleff passionately fond of a girl 
and did not marry. Well then? And here 
also had it "just happened sol" 

" Why don^t you marry? " I asked him' the sec- 
ond time? 

26a 



^KN.OOK . V, KNOCK .... KNOCK ;/./; 

TyeglefTs somnolently-strange eyes wander^ 
over the table. 

' ""That . , . . carnibt be told • ... in a: few 
woids," he began hesitatingly. "There were 
reasons. . . • .4lldJt2£§ides^ ^e . • . • is_of ths 
burgher class. Well, and my uiick .... I had 
to take biml^to consideration." 

" Your uncle? " I cried. " But what the devil 
do you care for your unde, whom you cmly see on 
New Year's Day, when you go to present youj^ 
congratulations? Are you reckoning dn his 
wealtfi? Why, he had about a dozen diildten of 
his own!*' 

I spoke with heat. • . . Tyegleff winced^ and 
blushed . . . blushed unevenly, in spots. ... 
" I beg that you will not read me a lecture," he 
said dully. " However, I do not defend myself. 
I have ruined her life, and now I must pay the 
debt. ... 

He dropped his head and fell silent^ I also 
found nothing to say. 

XI 

Thus we sat for a quarter of an hour. He stared 
to one side and I stared at him— and noticed that 
the hair above his brow had risen in a peculiar 
sort of way and was curling in rings, which, ac- 
cording to the remark of a military doctor, 
through whose hands had passed many wounded, 

267. 



KNOCK . . . KNOCK . , . KNOCK l^«^' 

always serves as a sign of a s^ong, dry fever in 
the brain. • . . Again it occurred to me that the 
band of Fate really did weigh upon this manf, and 
that not without cause had his comrades perceived 
^^n him something fatal. And at the same time 
i inwardly condemned him. "Of the burgheif 
class! " I thought. " But do you call yourself an 
aristocrat?*' 

"Perhaps you condemn me, Riedel/* began 
Ty6gleff, ssuddenly^ as though divining my 
thoughts. " I am greatly distressed myself . . . : 
greatly distressed. But what can I do? What 
can I do?" 

He leaned his chin on his palm and began to 
gnaw the broad, flat nails of his short, red fingers^ 
whidi were as hard as iron. 

" I ani of the opinion, Ilya Stepinitch, that you 
should first make sure whether your surmises aife 
correct. . . . Perhaps your lady-love is alive and 
well.'' ("Shall I fell him the real cause of 'ihe 
knocking? "flashed through my mind. • • .»^No 
—later on.") 

" She has not written to me a single time since 
we have been in camp," remarked Tyegleff. 

" Than proves nothing, Ilyi StepAniteh.'' 
\ Ty6gleff waved his hand in despair.— " Nd! 
She certainly is no longer on earth. She Us 
called' me. ..." 

^ Hesuddenly turned his face to'ward the win^ 
( flow;-i^^'Soiiie one is knocking againi " 

268 



KNQQK • . i KNOCK . . . KNOCK • • f 

I invdluniairily burst out laughing.— " You 
must excuse me» Ilya Stepanitch! This time it is 
your nerves, Dawq is breaking, as you see. In 
ten minutes the sun will rise; it is already after 
tfar^ o'clock, and visions do not act in daylight." 

Tyegleff darted at me, a gloomy glance, and 
muttering between his teetb» " Farewell, sir," he 
threw himself down on the bench and tiu*ned h^ 
hack on me. 

I also lay down,— and I remember that, before 
'I fell asleep, I meditated as to why Tyegleff had 
Igept hinting at his intention to take his own life. 
'' What nonsense, what phrase*makingl He ha9 
voluntarily refrained from marrying- . . . He 
has abandoned the girl • ; • • and now, al^ of a 
sodden,, he wants to kill himself! There is no 
humaA sense in that! He cannot keep from 
ihowingoffl" 

Thus thinking, I fell into a very sound sleep, 
and when I opened my eyes, the sun already stood 
high in the heavens, and Tyegleff was not in the 
cottage* « •. • , 

According to his servant's statement^ be had 
gone away to the town. 

"'J .■.•■> . . f . 

XII 

I SPENT a very wearisome, irksome day. Tyeg- 
leff did not return either to dinner or to supper. 
I did not expect my brother. Toward evening a 
i269 



V 



KNOCK . . . KNOCK . . . KNOCK i.'i 

^ Qh ^hick fog, wolrae than that of the preceding day, 
^ spread over everything. I lay down to sleep quite 
,^f^ Pearly. A knock under the window awoke mej 

My tum^ad come to start. 
^ The knock was repeated— and with such insia-* 
tent clearness that it was impossible to doubt its 
reality. I rose, opened the window, and perceived 
Ty^gleff. Wrapped iii his military cloak, ^tli 
his forage-cap pulled down over his eyes, he wai 
standing motionless. 

" Ilyi Stepinitch! " I exclaimed,—" is it yout 
We had given up expecting you. Ccmie in. Is 
the door locked? *' 

Tyegieff shook his head in negation.— "I do 
not intend to enter," he said dully.—" I merely 
wish to ask you to transmit this letter to the 
commander of the battery to-morrow morning/* 

He held out to me a large envelope sealed witli 
five seals. I was amazed, but mechanically took 
the envelope. Tyegieff immediately walked off 
to the middle of the street. 

" Wait, wait," I began. ..." Whither are 
you going? Have you only just arrived? And 
what is this letter? *' 

" Do you promise to deliver it at its address? " 
said Tyegieff, retreating several paces further. 
The fog began to shroud the outlines of his figure. 
— " t)o you promise? " 

" I promise . . . but first . . . ." 

Tyegieff retreated still further— and became 
270 



KNOCK . . . KNOCK . . . KNOCK . . . 

a dark, oblong spot.—" Farewell 1 " rang out his 
voice. " Farewell, Riedel, remember me kindly. 
. . . And don't forget Semy6n . . . ." And 
even the spot disappeared. 

This was too much! " O cursed phrase* 
maker 1" I thought. "Why must thou always 
be striving for effect? " But I was alarmed, 
nevertheless. Involuntary terror oppressed my 
breast. I threw on my doak and ran out into the 
street. 

XIII 

Yes; but in what direction was I to go? The fog 
enveloped me on all sides. One could see through 
it a little for five or six paces, but further than 
that it was fairly piled up like a wall, porous and 
white, like wadding. I turned to the right, along 
the street of the hamlet which ended just there; 
our cottage was the last one on the verge, and 
beyond it began the empty plain, here and there 
overgrown with bushes. Beyond the plain, a 
quarter of a verst distant from the hamlet, there 
was a birch coppice, and through it ran the same 
small stream which lower down made a loop 
around the village. All this I knew well, because 
I had many times beheld it all by daylight; but 
now I could see nothing, and could only guess, 
from the greater density and whiteness of the 
fog, where the land descended and the little river 
flowed. In the sky, like a pale spot, hung the 

2I3L 



KNOCK . . . KNOCK . . . KNOCK 



A fl fl 



moon, but its light was not strong enough, as on 
the preceding night, to conquer the smoky com- 
pactness of the fog, which himg aloft like a broad^ 
faint canopy. I made my way out on the plain 
and began to listen. . • • Not a soimd an3rwhere 
except the whistling of the woodcock. 

" Ty6gleff ! '' I shouted. " Ilyd StepAnitch! I 
Tyegleff ! ! " 

My voice died away around me without a re- 
sponse; it seemed as though the very fog would 
not permit it to go further. " Tyegleff I " I re- 
peated. 

No one answered. 

I advanced at haphazard. Twice I came in con- 
tact with the wattled fence, once I almost tumbled 
into a ditdi, and I all but stumbled over a peas- 
ant's horse which was lying on the groimd. • . • 
" Tyegleff 1 Tyegleffl" I shouted. 

Suddenly behind me, very close at hand in- 
deed, I heard a low voice:— "Well, here I am. 
.... What do you want with me? " 

I wheeled swiftly round. 

In front of me, with pendent arms, and with 
no cap on his head, stood Ty6gleff . His face was 
pale, but his eyes appeared animated and larger 
than usual. . . . He was inhaling long, slow 
breaths through his parted lips. 

" Grod be thanked! " I cried, in an outburst of 
joy, seizing him by both hands. . . . "Grod be 
thanked! I was already despairing of finding 

€78 



KNOCK . . . KNOCK . . . KNOCK . . \ 

you. And are n't you ashamed of giving me such 
a fright? Good gracious, Ilyi Stepdnitch! " 

" What do you want of me? " repeated Tyeg- 
leff. 

"" I want • • • I want, in the first place, that 
you shall return home with me. And, in the 
second place, I wish, I demand— I demand of 
you, as of a friend, that you shall immediately 
explain to me the meaning of your behaviour — 
and this letter to the colonel. Has anything un- 
expected happened to you in Petersburg? '* 

" In Petersburg I found precisely what I had 
expected," replied Ty6gleff, still not stirring 
L from the spot. 

" That is ... . you mean to say • • • • your 
friend .... that Mdsha . • • •" 

"She took her own life,"— interposed Tyeg- 

leff, ISiSriedly, and aTHiough viciously. " She 
was buried the day before yesterday. She did not 
leave even a note for me. She poisoned herself." 

Tyegleff hastily bliurted out these dreadful 
words, and still stood motionless, as though made 
of stone. 

I clasped my hands.—" Is it possible? What 
a misfortime! Your presentiment came true. 
. . . This is frightful!" 

I fell silent in confusion. Tyegleff quietly, 
and as though solemnly, folded his arms. 

" But why do we stand here? " I began. " Let 
us go home." 

278 



KNOCK . . . KNOCK . . . KNOCK 



ft II ■ 



" And why did I let go of his hand? " I re- 
proached myself. 

Semy6n stared in silence at me, as though pre- 
paring to say something, but, in accordance with 
the habits of servants in those days, he merely 
shifted from foot to foot a little. 

" At what o'clock did he go off to the city? '' I 
inquired severely. 

'' At six o'clock in the morning." 

" And how did he seem— troubled, sad? ** 

Semy6n cast down his eyes.—" Our master— is 
queer," he began. " Who can understand him?— 
When he was preparing to go to the city, he 
ordered me to give him his new uniform; weU» 
and he curled himself, also." 

" How curled himself? " 

" Curled his hair. I fixed the tongs for him/' 

I must confess that I had not anticipated this. 
— " Art thou acquainted with a young lady," I 
asked Semyon,— " a friend of Ily^ Step^nitch*8, 
named Mdsha?" 

"Of course I know Mirya Anempodistovnal 
She 's a nice young lady." 

" Thy master was in love with that Mdrya • • • • 
and so forth." 

Semy6n heaved a sigh.—" It *s on account of 
that yoimg lady that Ily^ Step^nitch will go to 
destruction. He loves her frightfully— and he 
can't make up his mind to take her as his spouse 
—and he 's sorry to abandon her, too. That 
^876 ^ 



KNOCK . . . KNOCK . . . KNOCK . . • 

comes from his lack of courage. He *s awfuUy 
fond of her." 

"And what is she like— pretty?" I inquired 
curiously. 

Semy6n assumed a serious aspect—" Gentle-' 
men like such as she." 

" And is she to thy taste? " 

" For us .... she is not suited— not at all." 

" Why not? " 

" She 's very thin in body." 

" If she were to die," I began again,—" would 
Hyd Step&nitch survive her, thinkest thou? " 

Again Semy6n heaved a sigh.—" I dare not say 
that— that 's the master's affair. . . • Only, our 
master— is queer I " 

I took from the table the large and fairly thick 
letter which Tyegleff had given to me, and turned 
it about in my hands. . . . The address to " His 
High-Bom, Mr. Battery Conunander, Colonel 
and Cavalier," with name, patronynCiic and sur- 
name indicated, was very distinctly and care- 
fully written. In the upper comer of the en- 
velope stood the word: " Important," twice un- 
derlined. 

" Hearken, Semy6n," I began. " I 'm 
afraid for thy master. He seems to have evil 
thoughts in his head. We must find him without 
fail." 

" I obey, sir," replied Semy6n. 
I (^ " There is such a fog outdoors that one can 
V y 277 



. IJ:N0CK . . . KNOCK . . . KNOCK . • • 

distinguish nothing two arshins * off, it is true; 
but never mind, we must make the effort. We 
wiU each take a lantern, and we will light a candle 
in each window— in case of need." 

" I obey, sir," repeated Semy6n. He lighted 
the lanterns and the candles and we set out. 



XV 

How he and I wandered about, how entangled we 
became, it is impossible to convey to you! The 
lanterns did not help us in the least; they did not 
in the slightest degree disperse that white, almost 
luminous mist which surrounded us. Semy6n 
and I lost each other several times apiece, despite 
the fact that we kept exchanging calls, shouting 
" a-ool " and I kept crying out: " Ty6gleff I Ilji 
StepAnitchl" andhe: " Mr. Tyegleff 1 Your Well- 
Bom! "—The fog threw us off the track to sudi 
a degree that we roamed about as though in our 
sleep; both of us speedily grew hoarse: the damp- 
ness penetrated to the very bottom of our lungs. 
We met again, by some means, thanks to the 
lights in the windows at the cottage. Our com- 
bined explorations had led to nothing,— we had 
merely hampered each other,— and therefore we 
decided not to think any more of how to avoid 
getting separated, but that each of us should gO 

tThe anhin— the Russian yard-measure- is twenty-eigfat 
inches in iengtiL^-TtANSLATCNu 

278 



KNOCK . . . KNOCK . . . KNOCK . . • 

his own road. He went to the left, I to the right, 
and I soon ceased to hear his voice. The fog 
seemed to have made its way into my very brain, 
and I wandered about like a dazed person, merely 
shouting: " Ty6gleffl Tyegleffl" 

" Here! " suddenly rang out in response. 

Heavens! How delighted I was! How I 
rushed in the direction where I had heard the 
voice! .... A human figure loomed up black 
ahead of me. • . • I darted at it. . . . At last! 

But instead of Ty^gleff I beheld before me 
another officer of the same battery named Telep- 
neff." 

** Was it you who answered me? " I asked him. 

" And were you calling me? " he inquired, in 
his turn. 

" No; I was calling Ty6gleff." 

" Tyegleff ? Why, I met him only a moment 
ago. What an absurd night! It is utterly im- 
possible to find one's way home.'* 

" You saw Tyeglefi^? In which direction was 
he going? " 

"In that direction— I think." The officer 
passed his hand through the air.—" But now it is 
impossible to understand anything. For exam- 
ple, do you know where the village is? The only 
salvation is if a dog should begin to bark. An 
abominable night, is n't it? Allow me to light 
a cigar • • • • it will seem to illuminate the 
road." 

Bza 



KNOCK . • • KNOCK . . . KNOCK • • 4 

The officer was a little tipsy, so far as I could 
make out. 

" Did not Ty^gleff say anything to you? *' I 
asked. 

" Certainly he did I * How art thou, brother? ' 
says I to him. And he says to me: 'Fare- 
well, brotherl '— * Farewell? Why farewell? '— 
* Why,' says he, * I 'm going to shoot m'self with 
pistol 's very minute.' A queer fellow 1 " 

I gasped for breath.— "You say that he told 
you . . . ." 

" A queer fellow I " repeated the officer, as he 
strode away from me. 

Before I could recover from the officer's an- 
nouncement, my own name, several times repeated 
in a violent shout, struck my ear. I recognised 
Semyon's voice. 

I responded. . . . He approached me. 

XVI 

" Well, what is it? " I asked him. " Hast thou 
found Ilyi StepAnitch? " 

" I have, sir." 

"Where?" 

" Yonder, not far from here." 

" How didst thou .... find him? Is he 
alive? " 

" Certainly; I conversed with him." (My 
heart was lightened.) "He is sitting under a 

S8Q 



KNOCK . . . KNOCK . . . KNOCK . . . 

small birch-tree, in his cloak .... and he 's all 
right. I reported to him: * Please come to your 
quarters, Ilyd Stepinitch," says I, 'Alexander 
Vasilitch is very uneasy about you.' But he says 
to me : ' What possesses him to be uneasy ? I want 
to be in the fresh air. My head aches. Go home/ 
says he. * I '11 come after a while.' " 

"And didst thou leave him?" I exclaimed, 
wringing my hands. 

"And why not, sir? He ordered me to go 
away .... how could I stay? " 

All my terrors returned to me at once. 

" Lead me to him this very minute, dost hear? 
This very minute! Ekh, Semy6n, Semyon, I did 
not expect this of thee 1 Thou sayest that he is not 
far from here? " 

" Quite close, yonder where the grove begins— 
that 's where he is sitting. About two fathoms— 
not more— from the creek, from the shore. I 
found him by going along the creek." 

" Come, guide me, guide mel " 

Semy6n set out. " Here, this way, if you 

please We have only to descend to the 

stream, and then we shall immediately . • . ." 

But instead of descending to the creek we got 
into some sort of a ravine and found ourselves in 
front of a small, empty shed. ... 

" Heyl Haiti " suddenly exclaimed Semyon- 
" I must have gone too far to the right. . . . We 
must turn more to the left here. . . ." 

281 



> 



KSOCK . . . KNOCK . . . KNOCK . . > 

We went further to the left, and got into such 
a dense mass of steppe grass that we could hardly 
extricate ourselves ... so far as I could reool^ 
lect, there was no such high grass anywhere in the 
vicinity of our village. Then suddenly marshy 
ground began to seep under our feet, and round, 
mossy tussocks, which I had never seen, either, 
began to make their appearance. . • • We re- 
traced our steps— before us uprose a hillock, and 
on the hillock stood a hovel, and in it some one 
was snoring. Semyon and I shouted severnl times 
into the hovel; something fumbled about in its 
recesses, straw crackled, and a hoarse voice ejac- 
ulated: "Po-o-U-i-icel" 

Again we retraced our steps • • • • fields, 
fields, interminable fields. . . . 

I was ready to weep. ... I recalled the words 
of the fool in " King Lear ": " This cold night 
will turn us all to fools and madmen! " 

"Where shall we go? " I said, in despair, to 
Semyon. 

" Evidently, master, the forest fiend has cheated 
us," replied the discomfited orderly. " There 's 
Y~~ some mischief abroad. . . . An evil power is at 
; workl" 

I was on the point of scolding him, but at that 
moment there reached my ear an isolated, not veiy 
loud sound which instantly attracted my entire 
attention. Something popped faintly, as though 
some one had extracted a tight-fitting cork from 

282 



KNOCK . . . KNOCK . . . KNOCK . • . 

the narrow neck of a bottle. The sound rang out 
not far from the spot where I was standing. 
Why that sound seemed to me peculiar and 
strange I am unable to say, but I immediately 
walked in the direction whence it had proceeded. 

Semy6n f oUowed me. At the end of a few mo- 
ments something tall and broad loomed up darkly 
through the fog. 

"The grovel There it is, the grovel" ex- 
claimed Semy6n, joyfuDy; "and yonder .... 
yonder my master is sitting under the birch-tree, 
where I left him. T is he himself 1 " 

I looked intently. In fact, on the ground, at 
the foot of a birch, with his back toward us, awk- 
wardly bent over, a man was sitting. I briskly 
approached him and recognised TyeglefP's 
doak,— recognised his figure, his head bowed on 
his breast. 

"Tyegleffl'' I shouted. ... But he did not 
reply. 

"TyegleffI" I repeated, lajring my hand on 
his shoulder. 

Then he suddenly swayed forward, quickly 
and obediently, as though he had been awaiting 
my touch, and fell prone upon the grass. Se- 
my6n and I immediately lifted him and turned his 
face upward. It was not pale, but inanimately 
impassive; the clenched teeth shone white, and the 
eyes, also, motionless and open, preserved their 
customary sleepy and " mismatched " glance. . . » 

288 



KNOCK . . . KNOCK . . . KNOCK . • • 

" O Lord I "—said Semyon, suddenly, showing 
me his hand crimsoned with blood. ... This 
blood was flowing from beneath Tyegleff's un- 
fastened cloak, from the left side of his breast. 

^ He had shot himself with a small, single-bar- 
relled pistol which lay there by his side. The 
faint sound which I had heard had been the sound 

^ produced by the fatal shot. 

XVII 

Ty^igleff's suicide did not greatly surprise his 
comrades. I have already told you that, accord- 
ing to their view, he, as a '' fatal " man, was bound 
to indulge in some unusual performance, although 
possibly they had not expected from him pre- 
cisely this caper. In his letter to the commander 
of the battery he requested the latter, in the first 
place, to attend to having Sub-Lieutenant Ily^ 
Tyegleff stricken from the rolls as a suicide, stat- 
ing, in this connection, that in his casket there 
would be found more than enough ready money 
to pay all debts which might be claimed; and, in 
the second place, to transmit to an important per- 
sonage, who then was in command of all the corps 
of the Guard, another, unsealed letter, which was 
enclosed in the same envelope. We all read this 
second letter, as a matter of course; several of us 
took copies of it. Tyegleff had obviously toiled 
over the composition of that letter. 

284 




KNOCK . . . KNOCK . . . KNOCK . . • 

"Just see, Your Royal Highness,'*^ thus it 
began, as I recall it, "'how strict you are, how 
sternly you punish for the slightest irregular- 
ity in a uniform, for the most insignificant in- 
fringement of regulations when a poor, trem- 
bling officer presents himself before you; but 
now I am presenting myself before the incor- 
ruptible, upright Judge of us all, before the Su- 
preme Being, before the Being who is of im- 
measurably greater importance than even Your 
Royal Highness, and I am presenting myself 
quite simply, in my cloak, without even a stock 
on my neck. • • ." Akh, what an oppressive 
and impleasant impression was made upon me by 
Uns phrase, every word, every letter of which 
was carefully set forth in the dead man's child- 
idi chirographyl Was it really worth while, I 
asked myself— was it really worth while to de- 
vise such nonsense at such a moment? But 
Ty^glefi" had, evidently, taken a liking to this 
phrase; for he had put in play all the heaping 
up of epithets and amplifications, a la Mdrlin- 
sky J which was then in fashion. Further on he 
alluded to Fate, to persecution, to his mission, 
which would remain unfulfilled; to the secret 
which he was carrying with him into the grave; 
to the people who had refused to understand 

^ Hie title is intentionally abbreviated in the original, and the word 
might mean either Mi^esty, or Royal Highness as printed. The 
latter must be intended, and probably the Grand Duke Mikhail 
Myloritch, a renowned martinet, in particular.— TaAKSLAxoa. 

S86 



KNOCK . . . KNOCK . . . KNOCK . • , 

him; he even quoted the verses of some poet or 
other who had said of the crowd that it wears, 
life " like a dog's collar," and eats into vice " like 
a burdock"— and all this not without ortho- 
graphical errors. Truth to tell, this ante-mor- 
tem letter of poor Ty6gleff was decidedly in- 
sipid, and I can imagine the scornful surprise 
of the exalted personage to whom it was ad- 
dressed; I can imagine in what a tone he must 
have ejaculated: "A worthless oflScerl A good 
riddance to bad rubbish 1 " Just before the end 
of the letter a genuine cry burst from Tyegleff 'a 
heart. " Akh, Your Royal Highness 1 " thus he 
wound up his epistle,—" I am an orphan, I have; 
had no one to love me from my childhood, and 
every one has fought shy of me ... • and the 
only heart which gave itself to me I myself have 
destroyed I" 

In the pocket of Tyegleff's cloak Semy6n 
found the tiny album from which his master 
never parted. But almost all the leaves had been 
torn out; only one remained intact, upon which 
stood the following calculation: 

Napoleon, born Aug. 16, Dyi Ty^leff, bom Jan. 7, 
1769. 1811. 

1769 1811 

16 7 

8 (Aug. is eighth l(Jan.is first month 

month in year.) in year.) 

Total 179« Total 1819 

28Q 



£NOCK . . . 


KNOCK . . . KNOCK . . . 


1 

7 
9 
i 

Total 191 




1 

8 
1 
9 

Total 191 


Nnmleon died Blaj 
18J6. 
18S5 
6 


'6, 


Il7«Ty^leff died July tl, 
1884. 
1884 
SI 



6 (Blay is fifth month 7 (July is seventh 

in year.) _^_^ month in year.) 

Total 1886 Total 1862 

1 1 

8 8 

8 6 

6 * 

Total 171 Total I7I 

Poor fellow! Was not that the reason that he 
had entered the artillery? 

They buried him, being a suidde, outside the 
.cemetery, and immediately forgot him. 



XVIII 

On the day after Ty^gleff's funeral (I was still 
*in the village, awaiting my brother) Semydn en- 
tered the cottage and announced that Ilyi wished 
to see me. 
" What Ilyi? " I asked. 
287 



KNOCK . . . KNOCK . . . KNOCK . • . 

"Why, our pedlar." 
I ordered him to be called in. 
He presented himself. He expressed some 
slight regret concerning the sub-lieutenant, and 
surprise that he should have taken such a thing 
into his head. . . • 

" Was he in debt to thee? " I asked. 
" Not at all, sir. Whatever he bought from me 
he paid for punctually on the spot. But it 's this, 
sir. . . ." Here the pedlar grinned.— "You 
have a small article of mine. . . ." 
" What article? " 
r— "Why, that one, sir." He pointed with his 
I finger at the carved comb which was Ijring on the 
W)ilet-table.— " 'T is an article of small value, sir," 
—went on the huckster,— "but seeing that I re- 
ceived it as a present . . ." 

I suddenly raised my head. An idea struck me 
like a flash of light. 
_. "Is%ni»»eilyi?" 
" Exactly so, sir." 

" So it was thee whom I . . . found the other 
day .... under the willow? " 

The pedlar winked and grinned still more 
broadly. 

' T was me^^." 

And it was thee whom some one was calling? '* 

*T was me, sir," repeated the pedlar, with 

playful modesty. " There *s a lass yonder," he 

went on, in a falsetto voice, "who, on account 

288 



<i »r 



KNOCK • . . KNOCK . . • KNOCK • • • 

of very great strictness on the part of her 
parents • • • •" 

'' Good, good/' I interrupted him» handing him 
the comb and sending him away. 

So that was the '' Iliusha/'— I thought, and 
plunged into philosophical reflections whidi, how- 
ever, I will not repeat to you, for I have no in- 
tention of preventing any one from believing in 
Fate, predestination, and other fatalities. 

On returning to Petersburg I made inquiries 
about Mdsha. I even hunted up the doctor who 
had attended her. To my amazement, I learned 
from him that she did not die of poison but of 
the cholera! I communicated to him what I had 
heard from Ty6gleff . 

' "Hoi hoi "exclaimed the doctor. "Was that 
Ty6gleff an artiUery officer of medium height 
with round shoulders and a lisp? " 

" Yes." 

" WeU, that *s it exactly. That gentleman 
presented himself to me— I beheld him then for 
the first time— and began to insist upon it that the 
girl had poisoned herself. ' It was the cholera,' 
said I. ' It was poison,' said he. ' But 'twas the 
cholera,' said I. ' But 't was poison,' said he. I 
saw that the man was rather daft, with a broad 
nape which indicates stubbornness, and it would 
not be a short job to get rid of him. ... It 
makes no difference, I thought to myself; the 
patient is dead anjrway. . . . * Well, then,' said I, 

»S9 



KNOCK . . . KNOCK . . . KNOCK . • i 

* she did poison herself, if that is more agreeable 
to you.' He thanked me, he even shook hands 
with me— and took himself off." 

I t(dd the doctor how that same officer had shot 
himself that very same day. 

The doctor never so much as moved an eyebrow 
—and merely remarked that there were various 
sorts of eccentric folk in the world. 

" There are," I repeated after him. 

Yes, some one has truly said concerning sui- 
cides that until they carry out their design no one 
believes them ; and if they do, no one regrets them. 



290 



THE WATCH 

(1875) 



THE WATCH 

AN OLD MAN'S STORY 



1WILL teU you my story about the watch. . . • 
A curious storyl 
The affair took place at the very beginning 
of the present century, in the year 1801. I had 
just entered my sixteenth year. I lived in Rya- 
zan, in a little wooden house not far from the 
bank of the Oka, with my father, my aunt, and 
my cousin. I do not remember my mother; she 
died three years after her marriage. My father 
had no children except me. His name was Por- 
firy Fetrovitch. He was a peaceable man, not 
good-looking, and sickly; his business consisted 
of prosecuting lawsuits— and of other things. 
In former times men like him were called petti- 
foggers, shysters, nettle-seed; he dignified him- 
self with the title of lawyer. Our domestic af- 
fairs were presided over by his sister, my aunt, 
—an old maid of fifty; my father also was over 
forty. She was a very pious woman— to speak 

293 



THE WATCH 

the plain truth, a hypocrite, a tattler, and given 
to poking her nose into everything; and her heart 
was not like my father's— it was not kind. We 
did not live poorly, but on the verge of that 
My father had also a brother, Eg6r^ by name; 
but he had been sent to Siberia, for some aUeged 
"seditious acts and Jacobinical manner of 
thought"— or other (precisely so did it stand in 
the decree) . 

Eg6r's son, David, my cousin, was left on 
my father's hands and lived with us. He was 
pnly'one year older than I; but I abased mysdf 
before him and obeyed him as though he had 
been ia full-grown man. He was far from a 
stupid lad, with strong character, broad-shoul- 
dered, stockily built, with a square face all cov- 
ered with freckles, red hair, grey eyes, small, 
broad lips, a short nose, also short fingers— what 
is called a strong man— and with a strength be- 
yond his years. My aunt could not bear him; 
and my father was even afraid of him ... or, 
perhaps he felt himself culpable toward him. A 
rumour was current that had not my father 
blabbed, David's father would not have been ex- 
iled to Siberia! We both studied in the gym- 
nasium, in the same class, and both did pretty 
well; I even a trifle better than David. ... I 
bad a keen memory; but boys— as every one 
knows— do not prize that superiority and do not 

^ ^Tlnt If, George; pfonounoed Yeg6r.->'IkAiiiLAT(Nu . 

294 



THE WATCH 

plume themselves on it, and David remained, 
nevertheless, my leader. 



II 

My nam^, as you know, is Alexyei. I was bom 
on the seventh of March, and my name-day 
comes on the seventeenth. According to ancient 
custom, they bestowed upon me the name of one 
of those saints whose day falls upon the tenth day 
after the child's birth. My godfather was a 
certain Anastdsy Anastdsievitch Futchk6fP; or, 
properly speaking, Nastdsyei, Nastisyeitch; no 
one ever called him anything else. He was a 
frightfully-litigious man, a caviller and bribe- 
taker—a bad man altogether; he had been ex- 
pelled from the Governor's chancellery, and had 
been indicted more than once ; he was necessary to 
my father. • . . They '* did business " in company. 
He was plump and round in person; but his face 
was like that of a fox, with an awl-shaped nose; 
his bright brown eyes were also like those of a 
fox. And he kept those eyes of his in incessant 
motion, to right and left, and kept his nose in mo- 
tion also, as though he were sniffing the air. He 
wore heelless shoes and powdered his hair every 
day, which was then regarded as a great rarity in 
country parts. He was wont to declare that he 
oould not get along without powder, as he was 

295 



THE WATCH 

obliged to consort with generals and general- 
esses. 

So, then, my name-day arrives. Nastasyei 
Nastasyeitch comes to our house and says: 

" Up to this time, godson, I have never given 
thee anything; but just see what I have brought 
thee to-day I" 

And thereupon he pidls out of his pocket a 
bulbous silver watch, with a rose painted on the 
face, and a brass chain 1 I was fairly dumb- 
founded with rapture,— but my aunt, Pulkhe- 
riya * Petrovna, began to scream at the top of her 
voice: 

'' Kiss his hand, kiss his hand, dirty brat I " 

I began to kiss my godfather's hand, while my 
aunt kept interpolating: 

" Akh, dear little father, Nastasyei Nastasye- 
itch, why do you spoil him so? How will he be 
able to manage a watch? He '11 drop it, for a 
certainty, and will smash it or break it I" 

My father entered the room, looked at the 
watch, thanked Nastasyeitch in a careless sort 
of way, and asked him to come into his study. 
And I heard my father saying, as though to 
himself: 

'' If thou hast taken it into thy head, my good 
fellow, to get out of it in this way . . . ." 

But I could not stand still on one spot any 

'Turg^nieif calls her part of the time Pelag^ya, part of the tune 
Pulkhdriya.— TtAVBLATOB. 

206 



THE WATCH 

kmger, so I put on my watch and rushed off 
headlong to show my gift to Davfd. 

Ill 

DayId took the watch, opened it and scrutinised 
it attentively. He had great gifts in the me- 
dianical line; he was fond of tinkering with iron, 
brass, and all metals; he had provided himself 
with various instruments, and to repair a screw, 
or a key— or make an entirely new one, and so 
forth, was nothing for him. 

David turned the watch about in his hands, and 
muttered through his teeth (he was, in general, 
not talkative) : 

"Old .... bad. . . . Where didst thou get 
it? ''he added. 

I told him that my godfather had given it to 
me. 

David turned his small grey eyes on me: 

"Nastdsyei?" 

"Yes; Nastdsyei Nastasyeitch." 

David laid the watch on the table and walked 
off in silence. 

" Dost not thou like it? " I asked. 

"No; that 's not it. . . . But if I were in thy 
place, I would n't accept any gift from Nastd- 
syei." 

"Why not?" 

" Because he is a worthless man ; and one should 

297 



THE WATCH 

not lay himself under obligations to a worthless' 
man. I suppose thou didst kiss his hand? " 

" Yes, aunty made me." 

Davfd laughed,— in a peculiar sort of way, 
through his nose. It was a habit of his. He 
never laughed aloud; he regarded laughter as a 
sign of pusillanimity. 

David's words, his noiseless smile, pained me 
deeply. He must be blaming me inwardly, I 
thought! I must also be a worthless creature in 
his eyes I He would never have lowered himself 
to that, he would not have accepted a gift from 
Nastisyei! But what was left for me to do now? 

It was impossible to give back the watdi ! 

I made an effort to talk with Davfd, to ask 
his advice. He answered me that he never gave 
advice to any one, and that I must act as I saw 
fit.—" As I saw fit? " I remember that I did not 
sleep all night afterward; I was tortured by 
thought. I was sorry to part from the watch— so 
I placed it beside my bed, on the night-stand; 
it ticked so pleasingly and amusingly. . . But 
to feel that David despised me ... . (but it was 
impossible to deceive myself on that score I he did 
despise me!) . . . seemed to me unbearable! 
Toward morning my decision matured. ... I 
cried a little, to tell the truth, but I went to sleep 
after that, and as soon as I awoke I dressed my- 
self in haste, and ran out into the street. I had 
made up my mind to give my watch away to the 
first beggar I met. 

298 



THE WATCH 



IV 



I HAD not succeeded in running very far from the 
house when I hit upon that of which I was in 
search. I came across a barefooted, tattered ur- 
chin aged ten, who often lounged past our win- 
dows. I immediately ran up to him, and without 
giving either him or myself time to change our 
minds, I offered him my watch. 

The lad opened his eyes very wide, screened 
his mouth with one hand, as though he were 
afraid of scorching himself, and stretched out 
the other. 

" Take it, take it,'' I stammered,—" it is mine; 
I make thee a present of it; thou mayest sell it 
and buy thyself . . . Well, then, something 
thou needest. . . . Good-bye I" 

I thrust the watch into his hand, and started 
for home at full tilt. After standing for a while 
behind the door in our common bedroom and 
getting my breath, I stepped up to David, who 
had only just completed his toilet and was brush- 
ing his hair. " Here, Davfd," I began, in as calm 
a voice as I could command,—" I have given 
away Nastdsyei's watch.*' 

David glanced at me as he passed the brush 
over his temples. 

" Yes," I added, in the same business-like tone, 
" I have given it away. There 's a very poor lit- 
tle boy out there, a beggar; so I gave it to him," 

^99 



THE WATCH 

David laid down his brush on the wash-stand. 

"For the money which he can get for it," I 
went on, "he can purchase some useful article. 
He will get something for it, anyhow." 

I ceased speaking. 

"Well, all right! 'T is a good thingl" said 
David at last, and went off to the school-room. 

I followed him. 

"And what if thou art asked what thou hast 
done with it? "-he said, turning to me. 

" I will say that I have lost it," I replied care- 
lessly. 

We said nothing further to each other that day 
about the watch; but, nevertheless, it struck me 
that David not only approved of me, but even, to 
a certain degree, was amazed at me.— Really! 



V 

Two days more passed. It so happened that no 
one in the house bethought himself of the watch. 
My father had a very great row with one of 
his clients; he was in no mood to think of me 
or of my watch. On the other hand, I thought 
of it incessantly! Even the approbation .... 
the presumptive approbation of David did not 
afford me much consolation. He did not express 
it in any particular manner; he never said but 

800 



THE WATCH 

once — and that in passing— that he had not ex- 
pected such daring from me. Positively, my sac- 
rifice had been a disadvantage to me; it was not 
counterbalanced by the satisfaction which my 
vanity afforded. 

But at this point, as though expressly, there 
must needs turn up another gymnasium lad, an 
acquaintance of ours, the son of the town phy- 
sician, and begin to brag of a new watch— of 
pinchbeck, not of silver— which his grandmother 
had given him. • • . At last I could hold out no 
longer, and slipping quietly out of the house, I 
set forth to hunt up that beggar lad to whom 
I had given my watch. 

I soon found him ; he, together with other boys, 
was playing at knuckle-bones on the diiurch 
porch. I called him to one side, and, panting and 
entangling myself in my speech, I told him that 
my family were angry with me for having given 
away my watch, and that if he would consent to 
restore it to me, I would gladly pay him money 
for it. ... I had taken with me, in case of 
emergency, an old-fashioned ruble of the time of 
the Empress Elizabeth, which constituted my en- 
tire cash capital. . . • 

" Why, I have n't got it, that watch of yours," 
—replied the urchin, in an angry, snivelling 
voice. " Daddy saw it and took it away from me ; 
and he was going to thrash me to boot. ' Thou 

801 



THE WATCH 

must have stolen it somewhere/ said he. * What 
fool would give thee a watch? ' " 

"And who is thy father?" 

"My father? Troffmitch." 

" But who is he? What is his business? " 

" He 's a retired soldier— a srageant. And he 
has n't any business. He cobbles old shoes, and 
sews on soles. That 's all the business he has. 
And he lives by it." 

" Where is your lodging? Take me to him." 

" I *11 take you. You just say to him, to my 
daddy, that you gave me the watch. For he is 
scolding me all the time. ' Thou 'rt a thief; yes, 
a thief I * And my mother does the same: * From 
whom didst thou inherit this thieving? ' says she." 

The boy and I wended our way to his lodging. 
It was situated in a fowl-house, in the back yard 
of a factory which had been burned down long, 
long before and never rebuilt. We found botii 
Troffmitch and his wife at home. The retired 
" srageant " was a tall old man, sinewy and erect, 
with yellowish-grey side-whiskers, unshaven chin, 
and a whole network of wrinkles on his cheeks 
and forehead. His wife appeared to be older 
than he; her little red eyes blinked and puckered 
mournfully in the midst of a bloated and sickly 
face. Both of them were draped in some sort of 
dark rags instead of garments. 

I explained the affair to Troflmitch, and why 
I had come. He listened to me in silence, never 

802 



THE WATCH 

onoe winking, or removing from me his dull and 
strained, regular soldier's glance. 

''Mischievous tricks!'' he said at last, in a 
hoarse, toothless voice.— ''Do well-bom gentle- 
men behave like that? But if P6tka really did 
not steal the watch— I'll give it to him for 
that I— W-w- whack! Take that for playing with 
young gentlemen! But if he had stolen it I 
would n't have treated him like that! w-whackl 
w-whack! w-whack! with rods, in calergard^ 
style! Who cares? What's that? Hey? Give 
him the spontoons! So that 's the story?! 
Faugh!" 

This last exclamation Trof imitch uttered in a 
falsetto voice. He was evidently perplexed. 

"If you will return my watch to me," I ex- 
plained to him .... I did not dare to address 
him as " thou," notwithstanding the fact that he 
was a common soldier .... "I will pay you 
this ruble with pleasure. I don't suppose it is 
worth any more than that." 

" C-c-come ! "—growled Trof fmitch, without 
recovering from his perplexity, and devouring me 
with his eyes, out of old habit, as though I had 
been some superior officer or other.— "A fine 
business— hey?— Well now, just think of it! , . . 
Hold thy tongue, Ulyana!" he snarled at his 
wife, who had begun to open her mouth.— 
" Here 's the watch," he added, opening the table 

^ ^ Cavalieivguard.— llAKiLAioB. 

809 



THE WATCH 

drawer.—" If it really is yours, please to take it. 
But what 's the ruble for? Hey?" 

"Take the ruble, Trofimitch, good-for-no- 
thing! " roared his wife.—" The old man has out- 
lived his mind! He has n't a penny to his name, 
and here he is putting on pompous airs! *T was 
in vain they cut off thy queue, for thou art as 
much of a woman as ever!— so thou art — and 
knowest nothing. Accept the money, if thou hast 
taken it into thy head to give back the watch! '* 

"Hold thy tongue, Ulyana, thou good-for- 
nothing!" repeated Trofimitch.— "Who ever 
heard of a woman's putting in her word? Hey? 
The husband is the head; but she puts in her 
word! P6tka, don't stir or I '11 kill thee! . . . 
Here 's the watch!" Trofimitch reached out 
the watch to me, but did not let it out of his fin- 
gers. 

He pondered, dropped his eyes, then riveted 
upon me the same intently-dull gaze, and sud- 
denly began to bawl at the top of his lungs: 

" But where is it? Where 's that ruble? " 

" Here it is, here," I hastily said, pulling the 
money from my pocket. 

But he did not take it, and kept staring at me. 
I laid the ruble on the table. He suddenly swept 
it into the drawer, flung my watdi at me, and 
wheeling round to the left and stamping his foot 
violently, he hissed at his wife and son: 

"Begone, riffraff!" 

•04 



THE WATCH 

Ulyana stammered something or other, but I 
had already darted out into the courtyard, into 
the street. Thrusting my watch to the very bot- 
tom of my pocket, and gripping it tightly in my 
hand, I dashed headlong homeward. 



VI 

I HAD again entered into possession of my watch, 
bat got no satisfaction whatever out of it. I could 
not make up my mind to wear it; I must hide 
it most of all from David, which I did. What 
would he think of me and my lack of character? 
I could not even lock that unlucky watch up in 
a drawer. We had all our drawers in common. 
I was forced to hide it, now on the top of the 
wardrobe, now under the mattress, now behind 
the stove. . . . And yet I did not succeed in de- 
ceiving David! 

One day, having the watch out from under the 
Soot of our room, I took it into my head to rub 
lip its silver back with an old chamois-skin glove. 
Davf d had gone off somewhere in the town ; I was 
not in the least expecting that he would speedily 
return . . . when suddenly in he walked 1 

I was so disconcerted that I almost dropped the 
watch, and, all abashed, with face flushing to a 
painful degree, I set to sliding it about over my 
waistcoat, being utterly unable to hit my pocket 

805 



THE WATCH 

David looked at me, and smiled silently, ac- 
cording to his wont. 

"What ails thee?" he said at last.— "Dost 
thou think I did not know that thou hadst the 
watch again? I saw it the very first day thou 
didst bring it back." 

" I assiire thee," I began, almost in tears .... 

David shrugged his shoulders. 

" The watch is thine; thou art free to do with 
it what thou wilt." 

Having uttered these cruel words, he left the 
room. 

Despair seized upon me. There was no doubt 
about it this time; Davfd really did despise met 

Matters could not be left in this condition. 

"I '11 just show himl" I thought to myself, 
setting my teeth; and immediately betaking my- 
self with firm tread to the anteroom, I hunted up 
our page-boy Yushka, and made him a present of 
the watch! 

Yushka tried to decline it, but I declared to 
him that if he did not take that watch from me 
I would smash it on the instant, I would trample 
it under foot, I would fling it into the cesspool! 
He reflected, giggled, and took the watch. And 
I returned to our room, and seeing David, who 
was engaged in reading a book, I told him what 
I had done. 

Davfd did not remove his eyes from the page, 
and again said, shrugging his shoulders and smil- 

806 



THE WATCH 

ing to himself,— "The watch is thine, and thou 
art free to dispose of it." 

But it seemed to me that he despised me some- 
what less- 

I was fully convinced that I should never again 
subject myself to a fresh reproach for lack of 
diaracter; for that watch, that hateful gift of 
my hateful godfather, had suddenly become so 
loathsome to me that I even was not able to com- 
prehend how I had regretted it, how I could have 
wheedled it out of that person named Trof fmitch, 
who, moreover, still had a right to think that he 
had treated me with magnanimity. 

Several days passed. ... I remember that on 
one of them a great piece of news reached our 
town; the Emperor Paul was dead, and his son 
Alexander, concerning whose benignity and hu- 
manity such good rumours were in circulation, 
had ascended the throne. This news threw David 
into a frightful state of agitation; the possibility 
of seeing his father, of seeing him soon, immedi- 
ately presented itself to him. My papa was also 
delighted. 

^ All exiles will now be brought back from Si- 
beria, and I suppose they will not forget brother 
Eg6r either," he kept repeating, as he rubbed 
his hands and cleared his throat, and, at the same 
time, appeared to be struck with consternation. 

David and I immediately ceased to work, and 
did not go to the gymnasirm; we did not even 

807 



THE WATCH 

stroll about) but sat constantly somewhere in 8 
comer, reckoning up and discussing in how many 
months, how many weeks, how many days " bro- 
ther Egor" would be brought back, and where 
we might write to him, and how we should go to 
meet him, and in what manner we should begin 
to hve afterward. " Brother Egor " was an ar- 
chitect; David and I decided that he must settle 
in Moscow and there erect great school-houses for 
poor people, while we would act as his assistants. 
As a matter of course, we completely forgot the 
watch; moreover, new anxieties had cropped up 
for David .... of which more hereafter; but 
the watch was destined to remind us of its exist- 
ence. 

VII 

One morning just as we had finished breakfast, 
I was sitting alone near the window and medi- 
tating about my uncle's return— an April tha»w 
was steaming and glittering out of doors— when 
suddenly Pulkheriya Petrovna ran into the room. 
She was fussy and fidgety at all times, talked in 
a squeaking voice, and was incessantly flourishing 
her hands, but on this occasion she fairly pounced 
upcm me. 

''CSome along! come along to thy father this 
very instant, young sir!" she cackled. ''What 
pranks are these thou hast been up to, thou 

908 



THE WATCH 

shameless wretch?— You '11 catch it, both of you! 
Nast^yei Nastasyeitch has brought all your 
tricks to light. . . . Come along! Thy father 
wants thee. . . . (Jo this very instant!" 

Still comprehending nothing, I followed my 
aunt; and as I crossed the threshold of the draw- 
ing-room I beheld my father pacing back and 
forth with huge strides, and rumpling up his crest 
of hair, Yiishka in tears by the door, and in the 
comer, on a chair, my godfather, Nastdsyei Nas- 
tdsyeitch, with an expression of peculiarly-malign 
joy in his inflated nostrils and blazing, squinting 
eyes. 

As soon as I entered, my father flew at me. 

"Didst thou give the watch to Yiishka? 
Tell me!" 

I glanced at Yushka. . • • 

" Come, speak! " repeated my father, stamping 
his foot. 

"Yes," I replied, and inmiediately received a 
swingeing box on the ear, which afi'orded great 
satisfaction to my aunt. I heard her grunt, ex- 
actly as though she had swallowed a mouthful 
of boiling tea.— From me my father rushed to 
Yushka. 

"And thou, scoundrel, shouldst not have pre- 
sumed to accept the watch as a gift," he said, puU- 
ihg the boy about by his hair;— "arid thou hast 
sold it into the bargain, thou rascal!" 

Yushka, as I afterward learned, in simplic- 
809 



THE WATCH 

ity of htort, actually had carried my watch to 
a neighbouring watchmaker.— The watchmaker 
had hung it up in his window; Nastisyei Nas- 
tisyeitch had espied it in passing, had purchased 
it and brought it to our house. 

But the chastisement of myself and Yushka 
did not last long; my father got to panting, and 
began to cough; and it was not in his nature, 
either, to get angry. 

"Dear brother, Porfiry Petr6vitch," said my 
aunt, as soon as she saw— not without some re* 
gret, of course— that my father's wrath had died 
down, as the saying is,— "pray, do not worry 
yourself further; it is not worth soiling your 
hands about. But this is what I would suggest: 
with the consent of our respected Nastdsyei Nas- 
tisyeitch, and by reason of your little son's great 
ingratitude, I will take possession of this watch; 
and since he has shown by his act that he is un- 
worthy to wear it, and does not even understand 
its value, I will make a gift of it, in your namCi 
to a man who will be very appreciative of your 
kindness." 

"Who is he?" inquired my father. 

"Why, Khrisanfa Liikitch," said my aunt» 
with a little hesitation. 

"KhjpisAshka?"^ cross-questioned my father; 
and with a wave of his hand he added:—" 'T is all 
one to me. Fling it into the stove if you like." 

^ The Boonifiil diminutive.— Tbanslatob. 

810 



THE WATCH 

He buttoned up his under waistcoat^ which was 
open on the breast, and left the rocxn, writhing 
with a cough. 

"' And do you consent, my dear man? " said my 
aunti addressing Nastisyei Nastdsyeitch. 

'' With the greatest readiness," replied the lat- 
ter. Throughout the whole duration of the 
'"chastisement" he had not stirred on his diair, 
and merely snifSng softly, and softly rubbing 
together the tips of his fingers, he had turned 
his foxy eyes upon me, my father and Yushka by 
turns. We afforded him genuine satisfac- 
tion! .... 

My aunt's suggestion agitated me to the bot- 
tom of my soul. I was not sorry for the watch; 
but I heartily detested the man to whom she was 
preparing to give it.— This Khrisdnfa Liikifcch, 
whose surname was Trankvillitdtin,^ a healthy, 
robust, lank student in the ecclesiastical soni- 
nary, had acquired a habit of coming to our house 
-^the devil only knows why! "To teach the 
i^dldren*' my aunt asserted; but he could not 
teach us, for the simple reason that he himself 
had learned nothing to teach, and was as stupid 
18; a horse. Altogether, he resembled a horse: 
he clattered his feet exactly as though they were 
hoofs; he did not laugh— he neighed, dis- 

^ An abMurd surname of this sort, or one manu&ctured from the 
title of a religious festival or something similar, is an infttUible sign 
that the owner belongs to, or is descend^ d fkt>m, the ecclesiastical 
caste. ~ TiAKSLAToa. 



THE WATCH 

plafiag the whole of his jaws down to his very 
guUet in the process; and he had a long face,' a 
nose with a hump, and large, flat cheek-bones; 
he wore a shaggy frieze kaftan, and emitted an 
odour of raw meat. My aunt fairly worshipped 
him and called him a distinguished man, a cav- 
alier^ and even a grenadier. He had a tiabit of 
rapping children on the forehead (he had rapped 
me also, when I was younger) with the nails of 

I his long fingers, which were as hard as stone, 
and as he tapped he would guffaw and express 
surprise. " How thy head resounds! " he would 
say. "That signifies that it is empty!" And 
this lout was t6 possess my watchl--'' Not on any 

. account I " I decided in my own mind, when I had 

< run out of the drawing-room, and tucked my feet 
up on my bed, while my cheek burned and glowed 

. from the blow it had received— and in my h^art 
also the anguish of insult, and a thirst for ven- 
geance flared up. ..." Not on any aeoountl I 
won't allow that damned seminarist to rail at me. 
• • . . He '11 put on the watch, and let the diain 
hang over his beUy, and begin to neigh with 
pleasure. . . . Not on any account!" 

Yet, what was I to do? How was I to, pre- 
vent it? 
. I decided to steal the watch from my aunti 



iSlS 



THE WAtCH 



VIII 

LtTCKiLY Tfankvillitiitin was absent from town 
at the time. He could not come to our house 
earlier than the following day; I must take ad- 
vantage of the night. My aunt did not lock her- 
self into her room, for all through our house 
none of the keys worked in the locks; but where 
would she put the watch, where would she hide 
it?' Until evening she carried it in her pocket, 
and even pulled it out more than once and looked 
at it; but at night— where wx)uld it be at night? 
—Well, it was my business to find that out, I 
thought, brandishing my clenched fists. 

I was all glowing with audacity and fright 
and joy at the approach of the longed-for crime; 
I kept constantly nodding my headt I contracted 
mf brows in a frown, I whispered: "Just wait 
a bit!" I menaced some one or other, I was ma- 
fignant, I was dangerous . . . . and I avoided 
IHvfdl--No one, not even he, must have the 
slightest suspicion of that which I was preparing 
ib pterpetrate. ... 

" I will act alone— and alon^ I will be respon- 
sible!" 

The day dragged slowly by then the even- 
ing ... at last night came. I did nothing, I 
even tried not to stir: one thought had riveted 
itself in my head, like a nail. At dinner my 

818 



THE WATCH 

f ather» whose heart was, as I have said, benig- 
nant, and who had grown somewhat ashamed 
of his vehemence— one does not slap boys of six- 
teen on the face— my father tried to pet me; but 
I rejected his caresses, not out of rancour, but 
simply because I was afraid of relenting: it was 
necessary for me to preserve all the fervour of 
vengeance, all the hardened temper of irrevo* 
cable resolution! 

I went to bed very early; but, as a matter of 
course, I did not go to sleep, and did not even 
close my eyes, but on the contrary opened them 
staringly wide— although I had drawn the cov- 
erlet over my head. I had not thought out be- 
forehand how I should proceed; I had no plan of 
action; I was merely waiting until everything 
should quiet down at last in the house. I took 
but one precaution; I did not remove my stock- 
ings. My aunt's room was in the second story* 
It was necessary to pass through the dining-room 
and the anteroom, ascend the stairs, traverse a 
short, narrow corridor— and there • • . on the 
right, was the doorl .... There was no need 
to take a candle-end or a lantern: in the comer of 
my aunt's room, in front of the glass case of holy 
pictures, twinkled a shrine-lamp which was never 
allowed to go out. I knew this. So I should be 
able to seel I continued to lie with staring eyes 
and wide-open, parched mouth; my blood ham- 
mered in my temples, my ears, my throat, my 

814 



THE WATCH 

hafk^ my whole bodyl I waited . ^ • but as 
though some imp were making sport of me, time 
passed on ... . and on» but silence was not es- 
tablished. 

Never, so it seemed to me, had Davfd fallen 
asleep so late. . . . Davfd, the taciturn David, 
even entered into conversation with me I Never 
had people thumped, walked, and talked so long 
in the house I And what were they talking about ? 
I thought. Had n't they talked their fill that 
morning? External sounds did not cease for a 
long time, either. Now a dog set up a shrill, per- 
sistent barking; now a drunken peasant began to 
bluster somewhere or other, and would not stop; 
now gates creaked ; now a miserable little peasant- 
cart drove past on rickety wheels, drove and 
drove, and could not seem to get past I But these 
soimds did not irritate me; on the contrary, they 
pleased me, for some reason or other I They 
seemed to divert my attention.— But now, at last, 
apparently, everything had quieted down. Only 
the pendulum of our old clock ticked hoarsely 
and pompously in the dining-room, and one could 
hear the long, measured, and seemingly-difficult 
breathing of sleeping persons. 

I prepare to rise • . . but lol again something 
has hissed .... then suddenly there is a groan 

815 



THE WATCH 

• • • . something soft has fallen — and a whispeir 
is wafted abroad, a whisper glides along the 
waQsk ... 

Or, is there nothing of all this, and is it only 
my imagination teasing me? 

Everything has grown dead still at last: the 
very core and pitchiness and dead of the night has 
come.-^'T fe time! .Shivering all over in an- 
ticipation, I fling aside tke coverl^, lower my 
feet to the floor^ stand up. . * . One step, a sec- 
ond. . . I crawl stealthily on. The hollows of 
my feet seem to belong to some one else: they are 
htsivy, they step weakly and uncertainly. Stay! 
What sound is that? Is some one sawing some- 
wherie, or scrapihg • . « . orgaghing? I listen • • • 
CfaiUs course oyer my cheeks, cold, watery teara 
well iip in my eyes. . . .Never mind! . . . . 
Again I crawl forward. It is dark; but I know 
•the way. Suddenly I collide with a chair. . - . 
What d- clatter, and how painfull The blow has 
taken me straight on the shin. ... I become pet- 
rified oh the spot. . . . Well, will they wake up? 
Ah ! I care noliiing I Suddenly daring appears, 
find even Prtaih, ForwardI Forward!. And 
now I have traversed the dining-room; now i 
•have groped for and found the door, and, have 
opeiied it with one turn, with a fkmriah. . .• 
How that cursed hinge squearks • . • • damn it! 
Now>I«am ascending the stairs. . i • One! 1[wo! 
three!; A stair has creaked under my foot; I dart 

816 



THE WATCH 

a vicious glance at it— just as thougli I could see 
it And I have grasped the handle of the.itecond 
door. . • . This one did not even squeak 1 It 
swung open lightly, as much as to say: ''Fray, 
etiterl " . . . And now I am already in the little 
cbrridorl 

High up in the corridor, near the ceiling, is a 
little window. The faint nocturnal li^ht' barely 
sifts throu^ the dark panes. And in that flick- 
ering light I behold, stretched out on a felt upon 
the floor, with both arms thrbwn over het head, 
our little runaway girl; she is sleeping soundly^ 
breathing rapidly, and right at her very head 
it the fateful door. I step over tiie felt, across 
the girl. . . . Who opened that door for me, . . • 
I know not; but now I am in my aunt's room; 
there is the shrine-lamp in one come*; and the 
bed in another, and my aunt in cap and night- 
dress is on the bed, with her face turned toward 
me. She is sleeping^ and does not stir;'elnen hbr 
breath is not audible. .The flame of the shrink 
lamp flidkers softly, agitated by the current of 
fresh air; and all over the room, and Over my 
Flint's face, which resembles yellow wax, the 
shadows begin to waver. ... 

And there is the wiitchl Bdiind the bed, on 
the wall it hangs, on a small embroideredtcushion. 
What luck» I think to myself 1 . . .-1 must not 
delay! But whose footsteps are those, ^oft and 
swift, behind my back? Akl^ no I that is the 

813: 



THE WATCH 

beating of my heart I ... I advance one foot 
• • • Heavens 1 Something round, fairly large, 
hits me below the knee .... oncel and yet 
againi I am ready to shriek aloud, I am ready to 
fall to the floor with fright. ... A striped cat, 
our household cat, is standing before me, with 
arched back and tail in air. Now he springs upon 
the bed— heavily— and softly turns himself about, 
and sits down, without purring, like a judge; sits 
there and glares at me with his golden pupils I 
'* Puss ! puss ! " I whisper, in barely audible tones. 
I bend across my aunt, I already have the watch 
in my grasp« . • . She suddenly sits up, opens 
her eyelids wide. . . . O my Creator I What will 
happen now? .... But her eyelids quiver and 
dose, and with a faint babble her head falls back 
oa the pillow. 

Another minute and I am back in my own 
room, in my bed, with my watch in my hands. . . . 
More lightly than a tuft of down did I dash back I 
I am a gallant fellow, I am a thief, I am a hero; 
I am panting with joy, I feel burning hot, I feel 
jolly— I want to wake up David on the spot and 
tell him everjrthing- and, incredible to relate! I 
fall fast asleep, like one dead ! At last I open my 
eyes. . . . The room is light; the sun has already 
risen. Fortunately, no one is awake as yet. I 
spring up like one scalded, arouse Davfd, and 
narrate all to him. He listens with a grin. 

" See here,"— he says to me at last,—" let' s 
818 



THE WATCH 

bury that idiotic watch in the earth, so that tio 
trace of it may remaini " 

I consider this a splendid idea. In a f ew min* 
utes we are both dressed and run into the fruit- 
garden which is situated behind our house, and 
beneath an ancient apple-tree, in a deep hole 
hastily excavated, with David's big knife, in the 
porous spring soil, we conceal forever the hated 
gift of my godfather, which after all has not 
reached the hands of the repulsive Trankvilli- 
titin! We tread down the hole, fling rubbish 
over it, aiid, proud and happy, we regain the 
house without having been seen by any one, get 
into our beds and sleep another hour or two— 
and with what a light, blissful slumber I 

X 

You can picture to yourself what an uproar 
arose the next morning as soon as my aunt woke 
up and discovered the loss of the watch! Her 
piercing shriek still rings in my ears. "Police! 
Thieves! Thieves!" she shrilled, and roused the 
whole household on foot. She went into a wild 
rage, but David and I only smiled to ourselves, 
and sweet was our smile to us. 

"Every one must receive a soimd thrashing, 
every one!"— screamed my aunt. "My watch 
has been stolen from under my head, from under 
my pillow!" 

810. 



THE WATCH 

We were prepared for anything; we ani 
pated a catastrophe . . . but, contrary to our 
pectations, no catastrophe whatever crashed dc 
upon our heads. At first, it is true, my fa1 
made a tremendous fuss— he even spoke of 
police; but probably the row of the day bei 
had thoroughly bored him, and he suddenly 
ihe indescribable amazement of my aunt, pouzi 
not upon us, but upon her! 

" I 'm sick of you,— more sick than of a 
ter radish,— Pulkheriya Petrovna,"— he yel 
" and of your watch I I won't hear another w 
about it! You say that it did not disapi 
through sorcery; but what do I care about tl 
I don't care if it was sorcery 1 Has it been st< 
from you ? Well, let it go ! What will Nasta 
Nastdsyeitch say? The devil fly away with 
altogether, with that Nastdsyeitch of yours! 
get nothing but offences and unpleasantne 
out of him. Don't dare to bother me any m< 
Do you hear?" 

My father banged the door, and went ofl 
his study. 

At first David and I did not understand 
hint contained in his last words; but later on 
learned that my father was extremely indign 
at my godfather at that very time, because 
latter had snatched away from him a good 
of business. And so my aunt was left in 
lurch. She almost burst with wrath, but tl 

82Q 



THE WATGH 

was nothing to be done. She was compelled to 
content herself with saying in a whisper as she 
passed me» making a wry faqe in. my direction: 
"Thief, thief, convict, rascall"— My aunt's re- 
proaches afforded me genuine delight. It was 
also very pleasant, when skirting along the fence, 
to glide a feignedly-indifferent eye at the spot 
under the apple-tree where the watch reposed; 
and if David were there also, to exchange with 
him a significant grimace. • • . 

My aunt took it into her head to hound Trank- 
yillitiitin on me^ but I had recourse to Pavid's as- 
sistance. He immediately announced to the stal- 
wart seminarist that he would slit open his belly 
with a knife if he did not let me alone. • • . 
Trankvillitatin was scared. Although he was a 
grenadier and a cavalier, according to my aunt's 
expression, yet he was not distinguished for his 
valour. 

Thus five weeks passed. . . . But do you think 
the story of the watch ended thus? No; it was 
not ended; only, in order to continue my tale, 
I must introduce a new personage; and in order 
to introduce this new personage, I must go back 
a little. 

XI 

My father had long been friendly, even intimate» 
with a certain retired official, Ldtkin, a lame, mis- 
erable little man with strange and timid ways— 

821 



THE WATCH 

one of those beings concerning whom the proverb 
was fabricated that they have been slain by God 
himself. Like my father and Nastdsyei, he oc- 
cupied himself with soliciting lawsuits and was 
also a private "lawyer" and attorney; but as he 
possessed neither an imposing exterior nor the 
gift of words, and had too little confidence in him- 
self, he could not make up his mind to act inde- 
pendently, and stuck close to my father. His 
chirography was " a regular string of pearls," he 
was thoroughly grotmded in the statutes and had 
acquired to perfection all the intricacies of style 
required for legal docimients and petitions. In 
company with my father he managed certain af- 
fairs, shared the profit and loss, and, apparently, 
nothing could shake their friendship; but, never- 
theless, it crumbled to ruin in one day— and for- 
ever. My father quarrelled for good and all with 
his colleague. If Latkin had snatched away 
from my father some profitable business after the 
manner of Nastdsyei, who replaced him later on, 
my father would have been no more angry with 
him than with Nastdsyei,— probably he would 
have been even less angry; but Ldtkin, under the 
influence of some inexplicable, incomprehensible 
feeling— envy or greed— and perhaps also under 
the momentary inspiration of honour,— "gave 
away " my father, betrayed him to their common 
client, a wealthy young merchant, by opening the 
eyes of that heedless youth to certain . . . • 

82% 



THE WATCH 

certain ixicks which were designed to yield my 
father considerable profit. It was not the mone* 
tary loss, great as that was— no! but the treach- 
ery which hurt and enraged my father. He could 
not forgive slyness 1 

'' Just see, a saint has made his appearance 1''— 
he reiterated, all trembling with wrath, and with 
teeth chattering as though in a fever. I was 
present in the room and was a witness of this out- 
rageous scene.—" Gkxxll From this day forth-^ 
amen! All is at an end between us. Yonder is 
Grod and yonder is the threshold— begone 1 I shall 
not set my foot in thy house, and do not thou set 
thy foot in mine ! Thou 'rt too awfully honest for 
me— how can thou and I do business together! 
But thou shalt have neither bottom nor cover! " * 

In vain did Latkin beseech my father, and bow 
to the earth before him; in vain did he strive to 
explain that which filled his own sotd with painful 
surprise. 

" But it was utterly without profit for myself, 
Porfiry Petrovitdi," he stammered: "I cut my 
own throat, you know!" 

My father remained inflexible .... Latkin 
never set foot in our house again. Fate itself, 
apparently, conceived a desire to put into execu- 
tion my father's last, cruel wish. Soon after the 
rupture (it took place a couple of years before 
tte beginning of my story) Latkin's wife— who 

1 Neither floor nor roof.— Teamlawmu 

828 



THE WATCH 

had long been ill» it is true— died; his second 
daughter, a dhild of three years, was stricken deaf 
and dumb with terror in one day: a swarm of 
bees settled down cm her head; Ldtkin himself 
suffered a stroke of apoplexy, and fell into ex* 
treme and definitive poverty. How he got along, 
on what he subsisted, it was difficult even to im^^ 
agine; He dwelt in a half ^ruined little hut, at ik 
short distance from our house. Raisa also lived 
with him, and did her best with the housekeeping. 
This Raisa is the new personage whom I must 
introduce into my story, 

XH 

So long as her father and mine were friends, we 
saw her constantly; she sometimes sat for whole 
days together at our house and either sewed or 
spun with her delicate, nimble and skilful hands. 
She was a graceful, rather thin young girl, with 
intelligent brown eyes in a white, rather long face. 
She spoke little, but to the point, in a quiet, reso- 
nant voice, hardly opening her mouth, and with* 
out displaying her teeth; when she laughed— 
which rarely happened, and did not last long— 
they suddenly all revealed themselves, large, white 
as almonds. I remember also her walk, which was 
light and elastic, with a little skip at every step; 
it always seemed to me as though she were de« 
scending a flight of stairs, even when she was 

824 



THE WATCH 

walking on level ground. She held herself up- 
right, with arms pressed close to her breast. And 
whatever she did, whatever she undertook,— whe- 
ther she threaded a needle, or smoothed a petticoat 
with an iron,-she did everything wbU, and . . . 
you will not believe it ... in a touching sort of 
way. Her Christian name was Raisa, but we 
called her " Black-lip ": she had on her upper lip 
a birth-mark,— a small, dark-blue spot, as though 
she had been eating blackberries. But this did not 
deface her: quite the contrary. She was just one 
year older than Davfd. I cherii^hed for her a sen- 
timent akin to reverence, but she had little to do 
with me. On the other hand, between David And 
her a great friendship sprang up— a strange, un- 
childish, but good friendship. They seemed to 
suit each other. They sometimes did not ex- 
diange a word for whole hours at a stretch, but 
each felt that things were well with them— and 
that because they were together. I have nevfeT 
met afty other girl like her, really. There was in 
her something attentive and decisive, something 
honourable and sad and charming. I never heard 
her utter a clever word, but, on the other hand, I 
never heard a commonplace from her, and more 
intelligent eyes I have never seen. When the 
rupture occurred between her family and mine I 
began to see her rarely: my father forbade me, in 
the strictest manner, to visit the L Atkins— and she 
no longer showed herself in our hous6. But I wai» 

825 



THE WATCH 

in the habit of meeting her on the street, and in 
church, and Black-lip still inspired me with the 
same sentiments: respect and even a certain admi- 
ration rather than compassion. She had borne her 
reverses well. " She 's a girl of flint," the coarse 
Trankvillititin himself had said of her one day. 
And really she was to be pitied: her face. had as- 
sumed a careworn, suffering expression, her eyes 
had become hollow and sunken— an intolerable 
burden was imposed upon her young shoulders. 

David saw her much more frequently than I 
did; he even went to their house. My father al- 
lowed him to do as he pleased; he knew that 
David would not obey him in any case. And 
Raisa presented herself at the wattled fence of 
our garden, from time to time, where it abutted 
on the alley, and there met David; she did not 
conduct a conversation with him, but merely com- 
municated to him some fresh difficulty or new dis- 
aster, and asked his advice. 

The paralysis which had smitten Ldtkin was 
of a very peculiar nature. His arms and legs had 
grown weak, but he had not lost the use of them, 
and his brain even worked regularly; but, on the 
other hand, his tongue got entangled and instead 
of one set of words he employed quite another set; 
one was forced to guess at what he meant to say. 

..." Tchu-tchu-tdiu," he stammered with an 
effort (he began every sentence with " tchu-tchu- 
tchu ") -^" the scissors; give me the scissors . • • /* 

826 



THE WATCH 

But by tlie scissors he meant to inidicatebrebd: He 
hated my father with all the strength that wasleft 
to him; he attributed to his curse all his misfor- 
tunes and called him sclmietimes a butcher, some- 
times a jeweller, " Tchu-tchu, don't dire to .go 
to the jeweller's, Vasflievnal" He had redbris- 
tened his daughter by this name, while bis own 
name was Martinyin.^ He grew more exacting 
every day; his wants increased. . . . And how 
were those wants to be supplied? Where was the 
money to come from? Woe ages a person fast; 
but it makes one shudder to hear certain words oti 
the lips of a girl of seventeen. 



xni 

I SEMEMBEE that I happaicd to be present at her 
conversation by the fence with David, on the very 
day of her mother's death. 

'' Mamma died at dawn this morning," she said, 
after first having glanced about her with her dark, 
expressive eyes, and then fixed them ofi the 
ground. '^ The cook has undertaken to buy the 
coffin as cheaply as possible; and we cannot rely 
upon her; she will probably spend the money for 
liquor. It would be well for thee to come round 
and take a look, David : she is afraid of thee." 

^Consequently, his daugrhter should have been called 
Raisa Martinyinovna.— TaAHSLAToa. 

827 



THE WATCH 

" I '11 come," replied David i " I 'U see to it. . . . 
But how about thy father? " 

" He is weeping; he says, * You will be spoiling 
me, too/ * You will spoil ' must mean— you wiH 
bury. Now he has fallen asleep/' Raisa sud- 
denly heaved a deep sigh.— " Akh, David, Davi- 
dushko!"^ She passed her half -clenched fist 
across her forehead and brows, tod this gesture 
was very bitter . . . and very sincere and beaii^ 
tif ul, as were all her gestures. 

"But do have some pity on thyself ," remarked 
David.—" Thou hast not slept at all, I am sur6. 
. . . And what is the use of crying? It wiU not 
remedy thy grief." 

" I have no time to weep," replied Raisa. 

"Rich folks can indulge themselves in that 
way, in weeping," remarked David. 

Raisa started to go, but turned back. i 

" They are bargaining with us for the yellow 
shawl from mamma's wedding outfit They offer 
twelve rubles. I think that is very little." ' 

*^ So it is,- very little." 

" I would prefer not to sell it," went on Raisa, 
after a brief pause, — "but we must have mon^r 
for the funeral, you know." 

" You must. Only you must not spend money 
at random. Those priests are- the mischief ! H^6, 
wait a bit, I'll come round. Art thou going? 
— I*J][be there very soon. Good-bye, dear." 

^ Or •• dew little David/* -TiuurvJiTOB. 

828 



THE. WATCH 

" Grood-bye, dear brother, darling r* 

" See tere oow, don't cry 1" 

"How should I cry? I must either cook the 
dinnet or cry. Onei of the two." 

" What does she mean by cooking the dinner? V 
I asked, turning to David, as soon as Rai^ft had 
departed. "Do you mean to say that she; pre* 
pares the food herself? " » . i! ^ 

" Why, 3urely thoq didst hear her say that thf 
cook has gone to bargain." . . i 

"Prepare th^ dinner," I thought, "and; her 
hands have always been so clean, and her gown sq 
neat. • • • I should like to see how she would 
manage in the kitchen, • • • A remarkable girl I" 

I remember another conversation at the fence. 
On this ooqasion Raf sa had brought with her her 
little deaf and dumb sister. This sister was a 
pretty chi)d» with huge, surprised eyes, and a 
whole miLss of dull black hair on her little head. 
(lUfsa's hair also was black> and without lustre.) 
Ldtkin had already been smitten with paralysis. 

" I really cjo not know what I am to do," hegsLfi 
Raisa.— " The doctor has written a prescription, 
and I must; go to the apothecary's; and our 
wretched little peasant" (Latkin still owned one 
serf $oul) " has brought fuel and a goose from 
the village. But the yard-porter is taking it 
away; * you are in debt to me,' he says." 

" Is he taking away the goose? " asked Pavid. 

" No, not the goose. * It 's old,' he says ; * 't ia 
829 



THE WATCH 

good for nothing any more. That *s why the 
peasant has brought it to ydu/ he says. But he is 
taking the wood/' 

''But he has no right to do that!" exclaimed 
Davfd. 

^ He has no right, but he is taking it. ... I 
went to the garret; we have a trunk standing 
there— an old, a very old trunk. I began to rum- 
mage in it. . • And what do you think I found? 
Look!" 

She drew from under her kerchief a fairly large 
telescope, mounted in brass, and covered with 
morocco which had turned yellow* David, in his 
quality of a lover and connoisseur of all sorts of 
instruments, immediately seized it. 

" English," he said, applying it to one eye, then 
to the other.— "A naval glass." 

" And the lens is whole," pursued Rafsa.— " I 
showed it to papa; he said, 'Carry it to the 
jeweller and pawn it! ' What dost thou think 
about it? Will they give me money for it? 
For of what use to us is a telescope? Can we 
use it as a looking-glass to see what beauties 
we are? But we have no looking-glass, urifcMtu- 
nately." 

And as she uttered these words, Rafsa suddenly 
burst into a loud laugh. Her little sister could 
not hear her, of course, but probably felt the quiv- 
ering of her body (she was holding Rafsa by the 
hand), and lifting her large eyes, she contorted 

830 



T«E WATCH 

her little face in a frightened way, and burst into 
tears. 

" That 's the way she always is," remarked 
Baisa; ** she does not like to hare people laugh.'' 

''Gome, I won't do it again, Liubotchka, I 
won't do it again," she added, promptly squatting 
down on her heels beside the child and running 
her fingers through her hair. The child ceased 
crying. Rafsa rose to her feet. 

" So pray do thy best> Davfdushko . . . with 
the telescope, I mean. For 't is a pity about 
the wood,— and the goose also, no matter how old 
it is!" 

" I can certainly get ten rubles for it," said 
David, turning the glass about in all directions. 
— " I '11 buy it from thee . . . why not? And in 
the meantime, here are fifteen kopeks for the 
apothecary. . . . Is that enough?" 

" I will borrow it of thee," whispered Raisa, ac- 
cepting the coin from him. 

"Of course 1 With interest— wouldst like 
that? Yes, and I have a pledge. A very valuable 
article! . • • The English are first-class people." 

" But they say that we are going to war with 
them?" 

"No," replied Davfd, "we are thrashing the 
French at present." 

"Well— thou knowest best. So do thy best. 
Farewell, gentlemen!" 



881 



THE WATCH 



XIV 



And here is another conversation which also took 
place at that same fence. Raisa ap^ared more 
anxious than usuaL 

"' A head of cabbage costs five kopeks, and the 
head is such a wee, tiny bit of a thing," she said, 
propping her chin on her hand. — " Jiist think 
how dear ! And I have n't yet received the money 
for my sewing." 

^' Is some one in debt to thee? " asked David. 

" Why, it is still that same merchant's wife who 
lives beyond the ramparts." 

"The one who wears a green coat,^ the fat 
one?"^ 

" Yes, she 's the one." 

"What a fat creature! She can't get her 
breath for fat, and in church throws off a steam, 
but does n't pay her debts ! " 

"She will pay .... only when vdll it be? 
And here is something else, Davidushko, some 
fresh worries. My father has taken it into his 
head to narrate his dreams to me— thou knowest 
how tongue-tied he has become: he tries to say 
one word and another comes out in£i;ead. When 
it is a question of food, or of anything connected 

1 The coat in question is of plebeian shape, in use among the peas- 
ants. It has sleeves, short skirts, a round tum-dkywn odUar, and It 
trimmed all round with a ribbon border. It is fitted to the figure 
and hooked up.— Tkakslatoi. 

882 



THE WAT3CH 

with daily life, we have already become used to 
him, we can understand; but a dream is unintel- 
ligible even with healthy peQple, whil^ in his 
case it is dreadful! ' I 'm greatly delighted/ he 
says; *to-day I was walking about the whole 
time on white birds; and the Lord God gave me 
a pouquet, atid in the pouquet sat Andriusha with 
a little knife/— He calls our LiuboJtehk^^.AB- 
dritisha.— * l^ow we are both going to get veil,' 
he says. ' All that is needed is to us^ the knife— 
tchirkl Like that I ' and he points to his throat 
—I don't understand him. I say: *Vejry weU^ 
dear,*, very well'; but he gets angry and tries 
to explain the matter to me. He even took tp 
weeping.'' » 

" But thou shouldst have told him some tale or 
other," I interposed: "thou shouldst have in- 
vented some he or other." 

*' I don't Imow how to lie," replied Raisa» f la^ly 
flinging her hands apart in despair. 

And it was a fact ; she did not know how to li|^. 

." It is not necessary to lie," remarked Da^id, 
" and there is no need for wearing thyself to de^\h 
either. No one will say * Thank you/ 1 'm sure." 

Balsa looked intently at him. 

"I wanted to ask something of thee, Davi- 
dushko; how diould one write ' shtop'?" 

" What does ' shtop* mean? " 

"Why, here, for example: *I wish that thou 
shouldst live.' " 

838 



THE WATCH 

" Write: 8h,t,o,b,er!"^ 

" No," I put in: " not sh, but tchl " 

** Well, never mind, write tchl But the diief 
point is that thou shouldst take care of thyself! " 

"I should like to write correctly," remarked 
Raisa, blushing faintly. 

When she blushed she immediately became 
wonderfully pretty. 

** It may prove useful. . . . How papa used to 
write in his day! ... It was wonderful! And 
he taught me. Well, but now he deciphers the 
letters badly.'' 

" Only let me keep thee alive,** repeated David, 
lowering his voice and never taking his eyes from 
Raisa. Raisa darted a swift glance at him and 
blushed worse than before.—" Only do thou live. 
.... And as for writing . . . write as best thou 
canst. . . Oh, damn it, the witch is coming!" 
(David called my aunt "the witch.") "And 
what is bringing her hither? . . . Run away, my 
darling!" 

Raisa darted one more glance at David and 
fled. 

David spoke to me very rarely and reluctantly 
about Raisa and her family, especially since he 

1 Er is the name of the character denoting that the preceding con- 
sonant has the hard, not the soft, pronunciation. All terminal con- 
sonants, and many which are not terminal, have one or other of two 
. cbanu:|ers affixed, and it is necessary to specify which is required^ 
tehtob (or, in full, tehiob^) means that, or tn ortUr thai.—TuAnnjiVM. 

884 



THE WATCH 

had begun to look for his father's return. He 
thought of nothing but him, and of how they 
would live together afterward. He had a vivid 
recollection of him, and was wont to describe him 
to me with particular satisfaction. 

'' He is tall and strong: he can lift ten puds ^ 
with one hand. . . . When he shouts ' Hey there, 
young fellow T— it can be heard throughout the 
house. He's such a splendid, kind man .... 
and a gallant fellow! He never quailed before 
any one. We lived in capital style until we were 
ruined! They say his hair has grown quite grey 
now, but formerly it was as red as mine. He 's a 
ve-ry stro-ong man! " 

David absolutely refused to admit that we 
should remain in Ryazdn. 

" You may go away," I remarked, " but I shall 
remain." 

" Nonsense ! We will take thee with us." 

" And how about my father? " 

" Thou wilt abandon thy father. And if thou 
dost not— thou wilt go to destruction." 

" What dost thou mean by that? " 

David did not answer me, and merely con- 
tracted his white brows. 

" So then, when we go away with my daddy," 
he began again, " he will find thee a good place, 
and I shall marry. • . ." 

^ A pud s 36 pouDda Englith. — Tiakslatoi. 

885 



THE WATCH 

" Well, there *s no great haste about that," I re- 
marked. 

" Yes, there is. Why not? I shall marry soon." 

"Thou?" 

"Yes, I. Why?" 

" Surely thou hast not thine eye on a bride al- 
ready?" 

" Of course I have." 

"Who is she?" 

David laughed. 

" What a stupid thou .art! Raisa, of course." 

" Raisa! " I repeated, with amazement.—" Art 
thou jesting? " 

" I don't know how to jest, my dear fellow, and 
I don't like it either." 

' Why, she is a year older than thou." 
What of that? However, let us drop the sub- 
ject." 

"Permit me to ask one question," I said.— 
" Does she know that thou art preparing to marry 
her?" 

"Probably." 

" But hast not thou revealed anything to 
her?" 

"What is there to reveal? When the time 
comes, I shall tell her. Come, enough of this ! " 

David rose and left the room. When I was 
alone I thought . . . and thought • • . and 
finally came to the conclusion that David was be- 
having like a sensible and practical man; and I 

886 



it ^ 



THE WATCH 

even felt flattered at being the friend of such a 
practical man! 

And Rafsa, in her everlasting black woollen 
gown, suddenly began to appear diarming and 
worthy of the most devoted love ! 

XV 

David's father still did not arrive and did not 
even send letters. Summer had long since come^ 
the month of June was drawing to a close. We 
were worn out with anticipation. 

In the meantime rumours began to circulate to 
the effect that Ldtkin had suddenly grown much 
worse, and the first any one knew, his family 
would die of hunger, if the house did not tumble 
down and crush them all under the roof. David 
even changed coimtenance and became so vicious 
and surly that one dared not speak to him. I did 
not meet Rafsa at all. Now and then she flitted 
past at a distance, tripping briskly across the 
street with her beautiful light gait, straight as an 
arrow, with folded arms, a dark and intelligent 
look under her long eyebrows, and a careworn ex- 
pression on her pale, sweet face— that was all. 

My aimt, with the assistance of her Trankvilli- 
t^tin, tormented me as of old, and as of old she 
kept whispering reproachfully in my very ear: 
" Thief, sir, thief! " But I paid no attention to 
her; and my father continued to bustle, work 

887 



THE WATCH 

sedulously, run about and write, and would not 
listen to anything. 

• One day, as I was walking past the familiar 
apple-tree, I cast a sidelong glance at the well-* 
known spot, more as a matter of habit than any^ 
thing else, and suddenly it struck me that a cer- 
tain change had taken place in the surface of the 
ground which covered our hoard. ... A sort of 
hump had made its appearance where there had 
previously been a depression, and bits of the rub- 
bish were lying in a different position ! " What 's 
the meaning of this? " I thought to myself. " Is 
it possible that some one has penetrated our secret 
and has dug up the watch? " 

I must convince myself with my own eyes. I 
felt the most complete indifference, of course, 
toward the watch rusting there in the bowels 
of the earth; but no other person could be per- 
mitted to make use of it! Accordingly, on the 
following day I rose before dawn once more, and 
arming myself with a knife, I wended my way 
to the garden, hunted up the marked spot 
beneath the apple-tree, set to digging, and 
after digging a hole about two feet deep, I was 
forced to the conviction that the watch had dis- 
appeared; that some one had got at it, taken it 
out, stolen it! 

But who could have . . . taken it out— except 
Davfd? 

What other person knew where it was? 
888 



THE WATCH 

I filled up the hole, atid returned to the house. 
I felt myself deeply injured. 

'' Assuming/' I thought, '^that David had need 
of the watch in order to save his future wife or 
Im father from starving to death. . • • Say 
what you will, the watch was worth something. 
. . . Still, why did not he come to me and 
say: * Brother! ' (in Davfd's place I would have 
infallibly said brother) , ' brother ! I am in need of 
money; thou hast none, I know, but permit me to 
make use of that watch which we buried together 
under the old apple-tree. It is doing no one any 
good, and I shall be so grateful to thee, brother! ' 
With what joy I should have given my consent! 
But to act secretly, in a treacherous manner, not 
to trust his friend. . . . No! No passion, no 
need could excuse that!" 

I repeat that I was deeply wounded. I began 
to display coldness, to sulk. ... 

But David was not one of those who notice such 
things and are worried thereby. 

I began to drop hints. . . . 

But David did not seem to imderstand my hints 
in the least. 

I said in his presence how low in my eyes was 
the man who, having a friend and understanding 
the full significance of that sacred sentiment, 
friendship, did not possess, nevertheless, sufficient 
magnanimity to avoid having recourse to cun- 
ning; as though anything could be concealed! 

889 



THE WATCH 

As I uttered these last words I laughed scorn- 
fully. 

But David never tiuiied a hair! 

At last I asked him outright, whether he sup- 
posed our watch had continued to go for a while 
after it was buried in the earth, or had stopped 
immediately. 

He answered me—" The deuce knows 1 Well, 
thou hast foimd a fine thing to meditate about! " 

I did not know what to think. David, evi- 
dently, had something on his heart .... only it 
was not the theft of the watch. An unforeseen 
incident demonstrated to me his innocence. 

XVI 

One day I was returning home through a cross- 
alley which I generally avoided using, because 
in it there was a detached house where my enemy 
Trankvillitatin lodged; but on this occasion Fate 
led me thither. As I was passing under the 
closed window of a drinking-establishment I 
suddenly heard the voice of our servant Vasily, a 
free and easy young fellow, a great "dawdler 
and idler" as my father expressed it,— but also a 
great conqueror of feminine hearts, on which he 
acted by means of witty remarks, dancing and 
playing on the t6rban.^ 

" And what do you think they hit upon? " said 

1 A sort of bagpipes.— TftAKBUiTOB. 

»4Q 



THE WATCH 

Vasfly, whom I could not sec, although I could 
hear him very distinctly; he was probably sitting 
just there, close to the window, with a comrade, 
over a cup of tea, and, as often happens with peo- 
ple in a closed room, was talking loudly, without 
a suspicion that any passer-by in the street could 
hear every word:—" What do you think they hit 
upon? They buried it in the earth! " 

"Thou liestl"— growled another voice. 

"They did, I tell thee. We have such ray- 
markible young gentlemen at our house. That 
David in particular .... he 's a regular iEsop. 
I get up just at break of day, and step to the win- 
dow, so ... I look out — and what do I see? . . . 
Our two nice little dears are walking in the gar- 
den carrying that same watch, and they dug a 
hole under the apple-tree— and in they put it, just 
as though it had been a baby! And then they 
smoothed over the earth, by heaven, those good- 
for-nothings!" 

"Akh, the deuce take them!"— said Vasfly*s 
companion.— "Too much good living, of course. 
Well, and what then? Didst thou dig up the 
watch?" 

" Certainly I did. I have it now. Only I can't 
display it at present. There was altogether too 
much of a row over it. That David pulled it out 
from under the spine of our old woman that very 
night." 

"0-Oh!" 

Ml 



THE WATCH 

*^ He did, I tell thee. Quite unpardonable. 
And so I can't show it. But wait until some offi- 
cers come: I '11 sell it to some one, or gamble it 
away at cards." 

I listened no longer, but rushed headlong home 
and straight to Davfd. 

"Brotherl" I began,— "brother 1 Forgive 
me I I have been guilty toward thee I I have sus- 
pected thee! I have accused thee I Thou seest 
how excited I am! Forgive me! " 

" What 's the matter with thee? " asked Davfd. 
—"Explain thyself." 

" I suspected thee of having dug up our watdi 
from under the apple-tree! " 

" That watch again ! Why, is n't it there ? " 

" No, it is not ; I thought that thou hadst taken 
it, in order to aid thy friends. And it was all that 
VasQy!" 

I told Davfd all I had heard under the window 
of the dram-shop. 

But how shall I describe my amazement? I 
had assumed, as a matter of course, that Davfd 
would be indignant ; but I could not possibly have 
foreseen what would happen to him! Barely had 
I finished my tale when he flew into an indescrib- 
able rage! Davfd, who had never borne himself 
otherwise than with scorn toward this whole 
" petty " caper with the watch, as he termed it,— 
that same Davfd who had more than once declared 
that it was not worth an empty egg-shell,— sud- 

842 



THE WATCH 

^nly sprang from his seat, flushed crunson all 
over, set his teeth and clenched his fists. 

** Things cannot be left in this state I " he said 
at last.— "How dares he appropriate other peo- 
ple's property? Just wait, I'll teach him a les- 
son 1 I won't connive at thievery 1 " 

I must confess that to this day I do not under- 
stand what could have so enraged David ; whether 
it was that he was already irritated and Vasfly's 
behaviour merely poured oil on the fire, or whe- 
ther my suspicions had wounded him, I cannot 
say; but I had never seen him so excited. With 
gaping mouth I stood before him, and simply 
wondered how he could breathe so heavily and 
forcibly. 

"What dost thou intend to do?" I asked at 
last. 

" Thou shalt see— after dinner, when thy fa- 
ther lies down for his nap. I '11 hunt up that wag! 
I '11 have a little talk with himl " 

" Well," I thought to myself, " I would n't like 
to be in that * wag's ' place! What will come of 
this, O Lord, my God?" 

XVII 

This is what came of it. 

Just as soon after dinner as there reigned that 
slumberous sufi^ocating tranquillity which to this 
day is spread like a hot bed of down over the Rus- 

848 



THE WATCH 

sian house and the Russian people in the middle 
of the day after savoury viands have been par- 
taken of, David (I followed on his heels with a 
sinking heart)— David wended his way to the 
servants' hall and called Vasfly out. At first the 
latter was unwilling to come, but ended by obey- 
ing and following him into the little garden. 

David stood before him, almost touching his 
breast. Vasfly was a whole head taller than he. 

"Vasfly Terentiefi^l" began my comrade in a 
firm voice, " six weeks ago thou didst dig up from 
\mder this apple-tree the watch which we had con- 
cealed there. Thou hadst no right to do that ; the 
watch did not belong to thee. Give it here this 
very minute 1" 

Vasfly came near losing countenance, but im- 
mediately recovered himself. "What watch? 
What are you talking about? I don't know any- 
thing about it 1 I have n't any watch at all 1 " 

" I know what I am saying, and don't lie, thou. 
Thou hast the watch. Hand it over! " 

" I have n't got your watch." 

"Then why didst thou say in the public- 
house ..." I began ; but David stopped me. 

" Vasfly Terentiefi^,"— he articulated in a dull 
and threatening voice,— "we are authentically 
informed that thou hast the watch. I tell thee, as 
a favour, to hand it over.— And if thou dost 
not . . . ." 

Vasfly grinned insolently. 
844 



THE WATCH 

"And what will you do to me then? Come, 
fiirl" 

" What?— Both of us will fight with thee until 
thou eonquerest us or we conquer thee," 

Vasfly burst out laughing. 

"Fight?— That's no business for young gen- 
tlemen I Fight with a serf? " 

David suddenly seized Vasfly by the waistcoat. 

" But we are n't going to fight thee with our 
fists," he ejaculated, gnashing his teeth,— "under- 
stand that! But I will give thee a knife and will 
take one myself .... WeU, and then we '11 see 
who's whol Alexyeil"— he said to me imperi- 
ously,— "run for my big knife; thou knowest 
which— the one with the bone haft; it is lying 
yonder on the table; and I have another in my 
pocket." 

Vasfly suddenly came near falling in a swoon. 
David still held him fast by the waistcoat. 

"Mercy .... havemercy, David Egoritchl" 
—he stammered; tears even started to his eyes. 
"What are you doing? What are you doing? 
Let me gol" 

" I won't let thee go.— And I won't spare thee! 
If thou eludest us to-day we will begin again to- 
morrow.- Alyoshal where 's that knife? " 

"Davfd Egoritchl" roared Vasfly, "do not 
commit murder. . . . Who ever saw the like of 
this? And the watch .... I really did .... 
I was joking. I '11 fetch it to you this very min- 

845 



THE WATCH 

ute. How can you go on like that? First you 
threaten to rip up Khrisanf a Lukitcfa's belly, and 
now you threaten me 1— Let me go, David Eg6- 
ritch. . . . Please to receive your watdi. Only 
don't tell your papa." 

David released Vasfly's waistcoat. I looked 
into his face; really, it was enough to scare a 
bolder person than Vasfly. It was so dismal . • . 
and cold • • • and malignant. • . . 

Vasfly darted into the house and immediately 
returned thence with the watch in his hand.— Si- 
lently he handed it to David, and only as he was 
on his way back to the house did he exclaim aloud 
on the threshold: " Phew, here 's a pretty gol " 

His face was still distorted beyond recognition. 
David nodded his head and went off to our room. 
Again I trudged after him. 

" Suvoroff 1 A regular Suvoroffl" I thought 
to myself.— At that time, in 1801, Suv6roff was 
our leading popular hero. 



XVIII 

DavId locked the door behind him, laid the watdi 
on the table, folded his arms and— oh, marveUous 
to relate!— burst out laughing.— As I looked at 
him I began to laugh also. 

"What an astounding dodger 1" he began.— 
'• We cannot possibly rid ourselves of this watch. 

846 



THE WATCH 

It is bewitched, it really is. And what made me 
go into a rage so all of a sudden? " 

"Yes, what?" I repeated.— " Thou mightest 
have left it with VasQy . . . ." 

"Well, no," interrupted Davfd.-" That's all 
fiddlesticks I But what shall we do with it now? " 

"Yesl What?" 

We both riveted our eyes on the watch, and fell 
to thinking. Adorned with a string of sky-blue 
glass beads (the ill-starred Vasfly in his headlong 
haste had not had time to detach this string, which 
belonged to him) , it was very quietly performing 
its functions; it ticked somewhat unevenly, it is 
true, and moved its brass minute-hand slowly. 

" Shall we bury it again? Or fling it into the 
stove? " I suggested at last.—" Or, see here,— why 
not make a present of it to Latkin? " 

" No," replied David.—" That won't do at all. 
But here 's an idea: a commission has been insti- 
tuted in the Governor's chancellery to receive sub- 
scriptions for the benefit of the inhabitants of 
Kasimo£r who have been burned out of house and 
home. They say that the town of Kasimoff has 
been reduced to ashes, with all its churches. And 
they say that everything is accepted; not alone 
bread and money, but articles of every descrip- 
tion.— Let 's give the watch to them! Hey? " 

"We Willi We Willi" I interposed.-" That's 
a fine ideal But I assumed that as the family of 
thy friends is in need . . . ." 

847 



THE WATCH 

"No, no; give it to the commission 1— The 
Ldtkins will get along without it.— To the com- 
mission with it!" 

" Well, if it must.be the commission, it must.— 
Only I suppose that we must write something to 
the Grovernor to go with it." 

David looked at me. " Dost think so? " 

"Yes; of course it is not necessary to write 
much. But so— only a few words." 

"For example?" 

"For example .... we might begin thus: 
* Being * ... or, better stiU, * Actuated *.../* 

"* Actuated ' is good. . . ." 

" Then we must say: ' The which small mite of 
ours' . . . ." 

"'Mite* .... is good also; well, take thy 
pen, sit down, write, go ahead! " 

" I will first make a rough draft," I remarked. 

"Well, do so; only write, write .... And 
in the meantime I will polish it up with some 
chalk." 

I took a sheet of paper, and mended my pen; 
but before I had had time to set at the top of the 
page: "To His Excellency, Mr. Radiant Prince*' 
(our Governor at that time was Prince X.), I 
stopped short, astounded by an unusual noise 
which had suddenly arisen in our house. David 
also noticed the noise and also stopped short, with 
the watch held aloft in his left hand, and the rag 
smeared with chalk in his right. We exchanged 
glances. What was that piercing shriek? That 



THE WATCH 

was aunty squealing. • . • And what was this? 
— It was the voice of my father, hoarse with rage. 

"The watch! The watch 1" roared some one, 
probably Trankvillitatin. 

Feet trampled, soles squeaked, the whole horde 
was running . . . making straight for us. I was 
swooning with terror; and David was as white as 
clay, but with the look of an eagle. 

" That villain Vasfly has betrayed us," he whis- 
pered through his teeth. . . . 

The door was flung wide open, and my father 
in his dressing-gown, and without a necktie, and 
my axmt in her dressing-sack, Trankvillitatin, 
Vasfly, Yushka, another smaU boy, and the cook 
Agapft, all invaded the room. 

" Scoxmdrelsl " yeUed my father, barely able to 
draw his breath . ..." at last we have caught 
you 1 "—And espying the watch in David's hands: 
— " Hand it over 1 "—roared my father.—" Hand 
over that watch 1" 

But David, without uttering a word, darted to 
the open window, sprang through it into the yard, 
and then made for the street 1 

Accustomed to imitate my model in all things, 
I also jumped out, and rushed after David. . . . 

" Catch them 1 Hold them 1 " thundered a wild 
chorus of voices behind us. 

But we were already fleeing headlong down the 
street, with no caps on otu* heads, David in the 
lead, I a few paces behind him, and after us came 
the trampling and roar of pursuit. 

IMfl 



THE WATCH 
XIX 

Many years have elapsed since all these events; I 
have thought of them many a time— and to this 
day I cannot understand the cause of that rage 
with which my father was seized, after having so 
recently forbidden the mere mention of that 
watch of which he was so tired, just as I could not 
understand then the wrath of David when he 
learned of its theft by Vasfly.— But I cannot help 
thinking that some mysterious force was con- 
tained within it, Vasfly had not betrayed us, as^ 
David supposed,— he was in no mood for that ; he 
was too thoroughly intimidated; but simply, one 
of our maids had seen the watch in his hands and 
had inunediately reported the fact to my aunt. 
And thus the spark had kindled a great fire. 

So then, we dashed headlong down the street, 
along its very centre. The passers-by who met 
us came to a halt or stepped aside in perplexity. 
I remember that one retired Second-Major, a 
famous breeder of greyhounds, suddenly thrust 
his head out of the window of his lodgings, and, 
all red in the face, with his body hanging in the 
balance, began to emit a wild view-halloo I 

"Stopl Hold them!" continued to thunder 
after us.— David ran onward, swinging the 
watch round his head, and now and then giving a 
skip ; I skipped also, and at the same places as he. 

" Whither away? " I shout to David, perceiving 
850 



THE WATCH 

that he is turning from the street into an alley, 
and making the turn with him. 

"To the Okdl'-he shouts back.-" Into the 
water, into the river, to the devil with itl " 

" Haiti Haiti " roar the people behind us. . . . 

But we are already flying through the alley. 
And now a chill breath wafts to meet us, and 
the river is before us, and the steep, muddy 
descent, and the wooden bridge with a train of 
wagons extending across it, and the soldier with 
his pike by the barrier— soldiers carried pikes in 
those days .... David is already on the bridge, 
he dashes past the soldier, who tries to prod him 
in the leg with his pike,— and collides with a pass- 
ing calf.— David instantly leaps upon the railing, 
—he emits a joyful exclamation. . . . Some- 
thing white, something blue has glittered, has 
flashed through the air— it is the silver watch with 
Vasily's chain flying into the water. . . . But at 
this point something incredible occurs! David's 
legs whirl upward in pursuit of the watch and he 
himself, head down, hands in front of him, jacket- 
tails fluttering in the air, describes a sharp curve 
—frightened frogs leap thus on a hot day from 
the lofty shore into the waters of a pond— and 
instantly disappears beyond the railing of the 
bridge .... and then— flop land a heavy splash 
below. • • . 

What my sensations were it is utterly beyond 
my power to describe. I was a few paces distant 

851 



THE WATCH 

from David when he sprang from the railing .... 
hut I do not even recollect whether I screamed ; I 
do not think I was even frightened: I was struck 
dumb and dizzy. My arms and legs lost their 
power. Around me people were jostling and 
running; some of them seemed familiar to me; 
Trof imitch suddenly flitted past, the soldier with 
the pike darted off somewhere to one side, the 
horses of the wagon-train walked hurriedly past, 
tossing on high their muzzles, which were bound 
together. . . . Then there was a ringing in my 
ears, and some one gave me a smart blow in the 
nape of the neck and along the whole length of 
my spine. ... I had fallen down in a swoon. ^ 
I remember that I rose to my feet afterward, 
and, perceiving that no one was paying any heed 
to me, I approached the railing, not on the 
side from which David had jumped (it seemed to 
me a dreadful thing to approach that one) —but 
the other, and began to stare at the river, turbu- 
lent, blue, and swollen; I remember that not far 
from the bridge, on the shore, I noticed a boat 
moored, and in the boat several men, and one of 
them, all wet and glistening in the sun, bending 
over the edge of the boat, was dragging something 
from the water— something not very big, some 
long, dark thing which at first I took for a trunk 
or a basket; but on looking more intently I saw 
that that thing was— David 1 Then I gave a great 
Start, began to shout at the top of my voice, and 

852 



THE WATCH 

ran to the boat, pushing my way through the 
crowd ; and having reached it, I became daunted 
and began to look about me. Among the people 
who surrounded it I recognised Trankvillititin, 
our cook Agapit with a boot on his arm, Yushka 
and Vasily. • • • The wet, glistening man had 
pulled from under the boat by his armpits the 
body of David, whose hands were raised on a level 
with his face, as though he were desirous of hid- 
ing it from the eyes of strangers, and had laid 
him on his back upon the muddy shore. David 
did not stir; he seemed to have stretched himself 
out, drawn in his heels, and thrust out his belly. 
His face was of a greenish hue, his eyes were 
rolled up, and the water was dripping from his 
hair. The wet man who had pulled him out, a 
factory-hand, judging from his attire, began to 
narrate, shivering with cold the while and inces- 
santly pushing the hair back from his brow, how 
he had done it. He narrated very decorously and 
carefully. 

" What do I see, gentlemen? This young fel- 
low diving from the bridge. . . . Weill .... 
I immediately run down-stream, for I know that 
he has fallen straight into the current, which will 
carry him under the bridge— well, and then .... 
that would be the last of him ! I look : something 
resembling a shaggy cap is floating, but it was 
his head. WeU, and so I immediately dashed 
into the water in a lively manner. I clutched 

658 



THE WATCH 

him. • • • Well, and there was no great art in 
thatl" 

Two or three words of approbation made them- 
selves audible among the crowd. 

" We must warm thee up now. Come along, 
let *s sip a cup of liquor," remarked some one. 

But here some one suddenly made his way con- 
vulsively to the front. ... It was Vasfly. 

" What are ye about, ye Orthodox? "—he cried 
tearfully.— "We must roll him. This is our 
young gentleman!" 

"Roll him, roll himl" resounded through the 
crowd, which was constantly increasing. 

"Hang him up by his feetl That's the best 
remedy!" 

"Put him belly down over a barrel, and roll 
him back and forth, until .... Take him up, 
my lads!" 

"Don't you dare to touch himl"— interposed 
the soldier with the pike.—" He must be taken to 
the guard-house." 

"Rabble!"— Troffmitch's bass voice was 
wafted from somewhere or other. 

" Why, he is alive! " I suddenly cry at the top 
of my lungs, almost in affright. I had been on 
the point of putting my face against his face. • . . 
** So that is what drowned people are like," I was 
thinking to myself, as my heart died within me 
.... when suddenly I saw David's lips trem- 
ble, and a little water flow from them. . . . 

854i 



THE WATCH 

I was instantly thrust aside, dragged away ; all 
darted toward him. 

" Roll him, roll him 1 "—voices began to be up- 
lifted. 

"No, no, stopl" shouted VasOy.— "Take him 
home . . . homel" 

" Take him home,"— chimed in Trankvillititin 
himself. 

" We '11 hurry him thither in a jiffy— we shall 
be able to see better there," went on Vasfly. . . . 
(I took a great liking to Vasfly, beginning with 
that day,)— "Brothers 1 Isn't there a bast-mat 
handy? If not, lift him by his head and his 
heels. . . ." 

" Stay! Here's a bast-mat! Lay him on it! 
Catch hold! March! Slowly: as though he were 
riding in a coach of state ! " 

And a few moments later David, borne on the 
bast-mat, triumphantly made his entrance under 
our roof. 



XX 

They undressed him and placed him on the bed. 
Already in the street he had begun to show signs 
of life, he had beUowed and waved his hands. • • • 
In the room he recovered his senses completely. 
But as soon as fears for his life were past, and 
there was no necessity for fussing over him, wrath 

855 



THE WATCH 

asserted its rights: all retreated from him as 
though he had been a leper. 

"May God punish him! May God punish 
himl"— squealed my aunt so that she could be 
heard all over the house.—" Send him off some* 
where, Porf fry Petrovitch, or he will perpetrate 
some other crime which cannot be endured 1 *' 

" I think this must be some sort of an asp, and 
a mad one at that,*'— chimed in Trankvillitdtin. 

"What malice, what malicel"— shrilled my 
aunt, coming to the very door of our room so as 
to make sure that Davfd heard her. " First he 
stole the watch, and then he flung it into the water. 
... As much as to say, * Nobody shall have it.' . . . 
So he did 1" 

Everybody, positively everybody, was angry 1 

" David," I asked him as soon as we were left 
alone, " why didst thou do that? " 

" There thou goest too,"— he retorted, still in 
a very weak voice; his lips were blue, and he 
seemed bloated all over.— "What have I done?" 

" But why didst thou leap into the water? " 

"Why did I leap?— I couldn't keep my bal- 
ance on the railing, and that 's all there is to it. 
If I had known how to swim I would have leaped 
deliberately. I shall certainly learn. But, on the 
other hand, that watch is now done for ! . . ." 

At this point my father entered our room with 
solemn tread. 

" I shall flog thee, without fail, my dear f el- 

856 



THE WATCH 

low/' he said, addressing me; ''have no doubt as 
to that, although thou art too old to lay across a 
bench any longer."— Then he stepped up to the 
bed on which David was l3ring.— " In Siberia,"— 
he began in a pompous and impressive tone,—" in 
Siberia, my good sir, in penal servitude, men live 
and die underground who are less guilty, less 
criminally guilty than thou I Art thou a suicide, 
or simply a fool?— Tell me that one thing, pray ! " 

" I am not a suicide nor a thief," replied David, 
" but the truth is the truth: good people get sent 

to Siberia, better men than you and I 

Who should know that if not you? " 

My father uttered a low cry, retreated a pace, 
stared intently at David, spat, and slowly cross- 
ing himself, left the room. 

"Dost thou not like it?" David called after 
him, thrusting out his tongue. Then he tried to 
rise, but could not.—" Evidently, I have injured 
myself somehow," he said, groaning and wrin- 
kling up his forehead.—" I remember that I was 
dashed against a beam by the water. . . . 

" Didst thou see Raisa? " he suddenly added. 

"No, I did not see her. . . . Wait I Wait I 
Wait! Now I remember: was n't it she who was 
standing on the shore near the bridge?— Yes. . . . 
A dark frock, a yellow kerchief on her head. . . . 
It must have been shel " 

"Well, and afterward . • . . didst thou see 
her afterward?" 

85Z 



THE WATCH 

** Afterward . . • . I don't know. I was in 
no mood for observing.— Thou didst leap at that 
moment. . • ." 

David started up in alarm. 

" My dear friend Alyosha, go to her this mo- 
ment, tell her that I am well, that there is nothing 
the matter with me. I shall go to see them to- 
morrow. Go quickly, brother, do me that fa- 
vour I" 

David stretched out both hands to me. • • • 
His dry, red hair stuck up in funny whorls . . . 
.but the deeply-moved expression of his face 
seemed all the more genuine for that. I took my 
cap and left the house, endeavouring not to fall 
under the eye of my father and not to remind him 
of his promise. 

XXI 

" And, in fact," I argued with myself on my way 
to the Ldtkins', " how was it that I did not notice 
Raisa? What has become of her? For she must 
have seen . • . ." 

And suddenly I remembered: at the very mo- 
ment of David's fall a terrible, heart-rending cry 
.had rung in my ears. . . . 

Was not that she? But how was it that I had 
not seen her afterward? 

In front of the tiny house in which Ldtkin 
dwelt stretched a strip of waste land overgrown 



THE WATCH 

with nettles and enclosed with a decrepit fence of 
wattled boughs. Hardly had I made my way 
across this fence (there was no gate or wicket any- 
where), than the following spectacle presented 
itself to my eyes.— On the lowest step of the porch 
in front of the house Raisa was sitting with hef 
elbows on her knees and her chin propped on her 
interlaced fingers; she was staring straight in 
front of her; by her side stood her deaf-and-dumb 
sister tranquilly flourishing a small whip, and in 
front of the porch, with his back toward me, clad 
in a tattered and threadbare dressing-gown, with 
under-drawers and felt boots on his legs, stood old 
Ldtkin, dangling his arms and writhing, shifting 
from foot to foot where he stood and indulging in 
little leaps. At the sound of my footsteps he sud- 
denly wheeled round, squatted down on his heels, 
and immediately swooping down upon me, began 
to say in an extremely rapid, tremulous voice, 
interlarded with breaks: "Tchu-tchu-tchu!" I 
stood riveted to the spot. I had not seen him for a 
long time, and, of course, I would not have recog- 
nised him had I met him in any other place. That 
red, wrinkled, toothless face, those round, dull 
little eyes and dishevelled grey locks, those twitch- 
ings, those leaps, that unintelligible, faltering 
tongue .... what was it? What inhuman de* 
spair was torturing that unlucky being? What 
"dance of death" was this? 

"Tchu, tchu," he staraimered, without ceasing 
85» 



THE WATCH 

to grimace,— "there she is, Vasilievna; she has 
just— tchu, tchu— gone .... hark I with a wash- 
ing-trough along the roof" (he banged his head 
with his hand) , " and is sitting there like a shovel; 
and squinting, squinting like Andriusha; cross- 
eyed Vasilievna!" (He probably wanted to say 
"dumb.") "Tchul my cross-eyed Vasilievna 1 
There they are, both of them, now in the same fix. 
. . . Admire, ye Orthodox 1 I have only those 
two little boats 1 Hey?" 

Ldtkin was evidently conscious that he was not 
talking straight, and was making frantic efforts 
to explain to me what was the matter. Ralsa ap- 
parently did not hear what her father was saying 
at all, while her little sister continued to slash the 
air with her whip. 

"Good-bye, jeweller, good-bye, good-bye I" 
drawled Ldtkin several times in succession, with 
low obeisances, as though delighted that he had, 
at last, caught hold of an intelligible word. 

My head reeled.— "What is the meaning of 
all this? " I asked an old woman who was peeping 
out of one of the windows in the house. 

" Why, you see, dear little father," she replied 
in a sing-song tone, " they say that some man or 
other— and who he is, the Lord only knows— has 
been drowned, and she saw it. Well, and she got 
thoroughly scared, I suppose; but she came home 
all right. But she sat straight down on the porch, 
and since that minute there she sits, like a statue; 

860 



THE WATCH 

it makes no difference whether one speaks to her 
or not. Evidently, she is doomed to dmnbness 
also. Axhti-ktil" 

"(xood-bye, good-bye," Ldtkin kept repeat- 
ing, still with obeisances as before. I stepped 
up to Raisa and halted directly in front of 
her. 

" Raisotchka," I shouted, "what's the matter 
with thee?" 

She made no reply; just as though she did not 
see me. Her face had not paled or changed, but 
somehow had become stony, and it wore an ex- 
pression as though she were on the very verge of 
falling asleep. 

" But she 's cross-eyed, cross-eyed," stammered 
Ldtkin in my ear. 

I grasped Rafsa's hand.— "David is alive," I 
shouted more loudly than before: " alive and well. 
Davfd is alive, dost thou understand? They 
pulled him out of the water, he is now at home and 
has bid me say that he will come to see thee to- 
morrow. . . . He is alive I" 

Raisa turned her eyes on me with apparent diffi- 
culty ; she winked the lids a couple of times, open- 
ing them wider and wider, then bent her head on 
one side, gradually flushed crimson all over, and 
her lips parted. . . . She inhaled the air into her 
lungs with a slow, full breath, wrinkled her brow 
as though in pain, and with a terrible effort articu- 
lating: "Yes .... Dav . . • ali . • • . alivel 

861 



99 



THE WATCH 

rose abruptly from the porch and set off at a 
run. • • • 

"Where art thou going?" I cried. 

But, laughing faintly and reeling, she was al- 
ready running across the waste land. 

Of course I darted after her, while behind me 
rose an energetic howl, decrepit and childish, from 
Latkin and the deaf-and-diunb girl. . . . Raisa 
was making straight for our house. 

"Well, what a day this has been!" I thought, 
as I strove not to lag behind the black gown which 
was flitting on in front of me. ..." Come onl " 

XXII 

Evading Vasfly, my aunt, and even Trankvilli- 
tdtin, Raisa rushed into the room where David 
lay, and flung herself straight upon his breast. — 
"Okh .... okh, Davidushkol" her voice rang 
out from under her dishevelled curls;—" okhl " 

Energetically waving her hands, she embraced 
David and bent her head down to him. 

" Forgive me, my dear," his voice made itself 
audible. 

And both seemed fairly swooning with joy. 

"But why didst thou go off home, Raisa? 
Why didst not thou wait?" I said to her. . . . 
Still she did not raise her head.—" Thou wouldst 
have seen that they had saved him. . . ." 

"Akh, I don't know I Akh, I don't know I 
862. 



THE WATCH 

Don't ask mel I don't know, I don't remember 
how I got home. All I do remember is that I saw 
thee in the ah* .... something struck me • . • « 
But what came after that I don't know." 

" Struck you," repeated David, and all three of 
us suddenly biu*st into a hearty laugh. We felt 
very happy. 

" But what may be the meaning of this, pray? " 
rang out a threatening voice— the voice of my fa- 
ther—behind us. He was standing on the thresh- 
old of the door. " Are these follies coming to an 
end or not? Where are we living? In the Rus- 
sian empire or in the French republic?" 

He stalked into the room. 

" Go to France, any of you who want to revolt 
and lead a licentious life! And as for theCy how 
hast thou dared to come hither?" he addressed 
himself to Raisa, who, having softly risen and 
turned her face toward him, was obviously intimi- 
dated, but continued to smile in a caressing and 
blissful way.—" The daughter of my sworn en- 
emy ! How darest thou ? And thou hast taken it 
into thy head to embrace him also I Begone this 
instant! or I'll . . . ." 

"Uncle," said David, sitting up in bed, "do 
not insult Raisa. She will go away .... only, 
don't you insult her." 

"And who appointed thee my preceptor? I 
am not insulting her, I am not insulting her! I 
am simply turning her out of the house. I shall 

868 



THE WATCH 

call thee to account also. Thou hast squandered 
the property of other people, thou hast attempted 
thine own life, thou hast caused me losses." 

" What losses? " interrupted Davfd. 

" What losses? Thou hast ruined thy clothing 
—dost thou count that nothing? And I gave 
money for liquor to the men who brought thee 
hither I Thou hast frightened the whole family 
out of their lives, and thou art insolent to boot! 
And if this wench, forgetful of modesty and even 
of honour . . ." 

Davfd sprang from his bed,— "Don't insult 
her, I tell you 1" 

"Hold thy tongue!" 

"Don't you dare . . .'* 

"Hold thy tongue!" 

"Don't you dare to defame my promised 
bride!" shouted Davfd at the top of his voice, — 
"my future wife!" 

"Bride!" repeated my father, with eyes start- 
ing from his head.— "Bride 1— Wife! Ho, ho, 
ho! . . ." ("Ha, ha, ha!" echoed my aunt out- 
side the door.)— "And how old art thou, pray? 
He has lived in this world a year minus one 
month, the milk is n't dry on his lips yet, the hob- 
bledehoy! And he is contemplating matrimony! 
Why, I . . . . why, thou . . . ." 

" Let me go, let me go," whispered Rafsa, turn- 
ing to depart. She had grown livid. 

" I shall not ask any permission of you," David 
864 



THE WATCH 

continued in a shout, propping himself on the 
edge of the bed with his fists, " but of my own 
father, who is bound to arrive any day nowl I 
take my orders from him, not from you; and as 
for my age, Raisa and I are not in a hurry . . . • 
we shall wait, say what you like. . . ." 

"Hey there, David, come to thy senses!" in- 
terrupted my father; "look at thyself: thou art 
all in tatters. . . • Thou hast lost all sense of 
decorum!" 

David clutched at the breast of his shirt with his 
hand. 

" Whatever you may say . . . ." he repeated. 

" Come, clap thy hand over his mouth, Porfiry 
Petr6vitch, clap thy hand over his mouth," 
squealed my aunt outside the door.—" And as for 
this street-walker, this good-for-nothing wendi 

• • • • UllS . . • • 

But evidently something unusual cut my aunt's 
eloquence short at that moment: her voice sud- 
denly broke, and in place of it another, a hoarsely 
decrepit and weak voice, made itself heard. • • « 

"Brother," enunciated this feeble voice. . . n 
"Brother! .... Christian soul 1" 

XXIII 

We all turned round Before us, in the 

same costiune in which I had recently beheld him, 
gaunt, pitiful, wild, like a spectre, stood Ldtkin, 

865 



THE WATCH 

*' But Grod/' he articulated in a childish sort of 
way, elevating on high his trembling crooked 
finger and scanning my father with a feeble gaze, 
— "Gtod has punished I And I have come for 
.Va . . . yes, yes, for Raisotchka. What is it, 
tchu! What is it to me? I shall soon lie down in 
the earth— and how the deuce does it go? A stick 
• • . . another .... a joist . • • • that 's what I 
need .... But do thou, brother, jeweller . . • . 
Look out .... for I am also a man!" 

Raisa silently walked across the room and link- 
ing her arm in his, buttoned his dressing-gown. 

"Come along, Vasflievna," he said, "they're 
all saints here; don't go to their house. And that 
fellow, the one who is lying yonder in the casket,*' 
—he pointed at David,—" is a saint also. But we 
are sinners, thou and I. Well, tchu .... par- 
don a peppery old man, gentlemen 1 We stole 
together I " he suddenly shouted:—" we stole to- 
gether! we stole together!" he repeated with 
manifest delight; his tongue had obeyed him 
aX lust. 
. . All of us who were in the room held our peace. 

"And where is your .... holy picture?" he 
asked, throwing back his head and rolling up his 
eyes. " I must purify myself." 

He began to pray toward one of the comers, 
crossing himself with emotion several times in 
succession, tapping his fingers now against one 
shoulder, now against the other, and hurriedly re- 

866 



THE WATCH 

peating: ''Have mercy upon me, O Lo . . • • 
me, O Lo . • . • me, O Lol . . • •" My father, 
who all this time had never taken his eyes from 
Ldtkin nor uttered a single word, placed him- 
self beside him and began to cross himself also. 
Then he turned to him, made a very low obei- 
sance to him so that he touched the floor with one 
hand,^ and saying: "And do thou also forgive 
me, Martinydn Gavrflitch," he kissed him on 
the shoulder. Ldtkin in reply smacked his lips 
in the air and blinked his eyes; it is hardly prob- 
able that he understood what he was doing. 
Then my father addressed himself to all who 
were present in the room, to David, Raisa, and 
me: 

'' Do what you will, act as you see fit," he said 
in a quiet, sorrowful voice— and withdrew. 

My aunt tried to approach him, but he yelled 
at her sharply and gruffly. 

" Me, O Lo . . . . me, O Lo . . . . have mercy I " 
repeated Ldtkin.— " I am a mani " 

''Grood-bye, Davidushko," said Raisa, as she 
also quitted the room, accompanied by the old 
man. 

" I shall go to your house to-morrow," David 
called after them, and turning his face to the wall, 
he whispered: " I am very tired; it wouldn't be 

^ This takes the place of a full prostration on the knees with the 
brow touching the floor for elderly or ailing persons. The kiss on 
the shoulder is a sign of contrition or humility, that being the way 
the peasants used to kiss their masters. —TaAKSLATom. 

867 



THE WATCH 

a bad thing to get a little sleep now,"— and fell 
silent. 

For a long time I did not leave our room. I hid 
myself. I could not forget what my father 
had threatened to do to me. But my apprehen- 
sions proved vain. He came across me— and did 
not utter a word. He seemed to feel ill at ease 
himself. However, night soon descended, and all 
quieted down in the house. 

XXIV 

On the following morning David rose as though 
nothing had happened, and not long after, on 
that same day, two important events occurred: in 
the morning old Ldtkin died, and toward evening 
uncle Egdr, David's father, arrived in Ryazan. 
Without having sent any preliminary letter, with- 
out having forewarned any one, he descended 
upon us like snow on the head.^ My father was 
extremely disturbed and did not know wherewith 
he should entertain, where he should seat the wel- 
come guest, and bustled about like a culprit ; but 
my uncle did not appear to be greatly touched by 
his brother's anxious zeal; he kept repeating, 
" What 's the use of that? "—and " I do not want 
anything." He treated my aunt with even 
greater coldness; however, she did not like him 
much, anyway. In her eyes he was a godless man, 

^ Suddenly, unexpectedly.— Traxslatom. 

868 



THE WATCH 

a heretic, a Voltairian .... (he actually had 
learned the French language in order to read 
Voltaire in the original) . 

I found uncle Egor such as David had de- 
scribed him to me. He was a big, heavy, ponder- 
ous man, with a broad, pock-marked face, dig- 
nified and serious. He wore constantly a hat with 
a plume, lace ruffles and frill, and a short-coat of 
tobacco-brown hue, with a steel sword on his hip. 
David was unspeakably delighted to see him— his 
face even grew radiant and handsomer, and his 
eyes became quite different— merry, quick, and 
brilliant; but he strove his best to moderate his 
joy and did not express it in words: he was afraid 
of growing faint-hearted. 

The very first night after uncle Eg6r's arrival 
the two— father and son— locked themselves up 
in the room assigned to the former and talked to- 
gether for a long time in an undertone ; on the fol- 
lowing morning I noticed that my uncle gazed at 
his son in a peculiarly affectionate and trustful 
manner: he seemed greatly pleased with him. 
David took him to the requiem service ^ for Lit- 
kin; I also went thither: my father did not hinder 
me, but remained at home himself. Rafsa sur- 
prised me by her calmness; she had grown very 

^ Not the fiineraU or even a requiem liturgy, but a service composed 
of wonderfully-beautiful prayers and hymns. Often it is held in the 
house of the deceased twice a day during the three days which precede 
burial (wh.*;^ is what is meant here, although in this case it was in 
church), and at any time thereafter when the friends and relatives 
request it-^TBAirsLAToa. 

. 8^9 



THE WATCH 

pale and thin, but she shed no tears, and spoke 
and behaved very simply; and nevertheless, 
strange to say, I discerned in her a certain maj- 
esty: the miconscious majesty of grief which for- 
gets itself. Uncle Egor made her acquaintance 
then and there, on the church porch; afterward it 
was obvious from the way he treated her that 
David had already spoken to him of her. He 
took as great a liking to her as his son had done; 
I could read that in David's eyes when he looked 
at them. I remember how they flashed when 
his father said in his presence, in speaking of 
her: " She 's a clever lass; she will make a good 
housewife." At the Latkins' house I was told 
that the old man had expired quietly, like a 
Candle which is burned out, and until he lost his 
powers and his consciousness he kept stroking 
his daughter's hair and repeating something 
unintelligible but not sorrowful, and smiling all 
the while. 

My father went to the funeral, to the church 
and the grave, and prayed very fervently; even 
Trankvillitdtin sang in the choir. At the grave 
Rafsa suddenly biu*st out sobbing and fell prone 
upon the earth ; but she speedily recovered herself. 
Her little sister, the deaf-and-dumb girl, scruti- 
nised every one with her large, bright, and some- 
what frightened eyes; from time to time she 
nestled up to Rafsa, but there was no fright per- 
ceptible in her. On the day after the funeral^unde 

310 



THE WATCH 

Eg6r» who, as was in every way apparent, had not 
returned from Siberia with empty hands (he had 
f mnished the money for the f mieral, and had lav- 
ishly rewarded David's rescuer), but who had 
told nothing about his manner of life there and 
had communicated none of his plans for the fu- 
ture,— uncle Eg6r suddenly announced to my 
father that he did not intend to remain in Ryazin^ 
but was going to Moscow together with his son. 
My father, for the sake of propriety, expressed 
his regret, and even made an attempt— a very fee- 
ble one, it is true— to alter my uncle's decision; 
but in the depths of his soul he was greatly de- 
lighted with it, I am sure. 

The presence of a brother with whom he had 
too little in common, who did not even deign 
to reproach him, who did not even despise him, 
but simply loathed him, oppressed him .... 
and the parting with Davfd did not constitute 
any particular grief for him. This separation 
annihilated me, of course; I felt completely or- 
phaned at first, and lost all hold on life and all 
desire to live. 

So my uncle went away, taking with him not 
only Davfd, but, to the great amazement and even 
indignation of our whole street, Raisa and her 
little sister also On learning of this per- 
formance of his, my aunt immediately called him 
a Turk, and continued to call him so to the end 
of her life. 

871 



THE WATCH 

I was left alone, quite alone. • . . But it does 
not matter about me. • . . 



XXV 

And this is the end of my story about the watch. 
What else can I tell you ? Five years later, David 
married his Black-lip, and in 1812, with the rank 
of ensign in the artillery, died a death of glory on 
the day of the battle at Borodin6, while defending 
the Shevardin redoubt. 

Many things have happened since then, and I 
have had many watches; I have even attained to 
the magnificence of procuring for myself a genu- 
ine Br6get with a second-hand, the days of the 
month, and a repeating attadmient. . . . But in 
a secret drawer of my writing-table is preserved 
an old silver watch with a rose on its face; I 
bought it of a Jew pedlar, being struck with its 
resemblance to the watch which had once been 
presented to me by my godfather.— From time 
to time, when I am alone and am not expecting 
any one, I take it out of its box, and as I gaze at 
it, I recall the days of my youth and the com- 
rade of those days, which have vanished beyond 
recall. . . • 



»7a 



SMOKE 

(1867) 



SMOKE 



AT four o'clock, on the afternoon of the tenth 
ajL of August, in the year 1862, a large number 
of persons were assembled in front of the famous 
" Conversation " (Hall) in Baden-Baden- The 
weather continued to be delightful; everjrthing 
round about— the verdant trees, the bright-hued 
houses of the comfortable town, the undulating 
hills— everything lay outspread in festive guise, 
with lavish hand, beneath the rays of the be- 
I nignant sim; everything was smiling in a passive, 
< confiding and engaging manner, and the same 
j sort of vague yet amiable smile strayed over the 
faces of the people, young and old, homely and 
handsome. Even the dyed and bleached faces of 
the Parisian courtesans did not destroy the gen- 
eral impression of manifest satisfaction and ex- 
ultation, but the motley-hued ribbcMis and fea- 
thers, the glints of gold and steel on bonnets and 
veils, involuntarily suggested to the vision the 
reanimated gleam and light play of springtide 
flowers and rainbow-hued wings: but the dry, 
guttural rattle of French gabble could not take 

.8 



u-- 



K 



SMOKE 

the place of the twittering of the birds, or bear 
comparison therewith. 

However, everything was going on as usual. 
The orchestra in the pavilion played now a pot- 
pourri from " La TCraviata," again a waltz by 
Strauss, or Dites-lui, or a Russian romance ar- 
ranged for instruments by the obliging band- 
master; around the green tables in the gambling- 
halls thronged the same familiar figures, with the 
same dull and greedy expression as ever, an ex- 
pression neither exactly perplexed nor yet irri- 
tated, but essentially rapacious, which the gam- 
bling fever imparts to all, even to the most aristo- 
cratic features; the usual obese landed proprietor 
from Tamboff, in extremely dandified attire, 
with the usual incomprehensible, convulsive haste, 
and eyes protruding, leaning his breast on the 
table, and paying no heed to the grins of the crou- 
piers, at the moment of uttering the exclamation, 
*^ Rien ne va plus! '' was scattering circles of louis 
d'or, with perspiring hand, over all the squares of 
the roulette-board, and thereby depriving himself 
of all possibility of winning anjrthing, even in the 
case of luck; which did not in the least prevent 
him, in the course of that same evening, from 
humouring with S3rmpathetic wrath Prince Koko, 
one of the well-known leaders of the opposition 
among the gentry, the Prince Koko who, in Paris, 
in the drawing-room of Princess Mathilde, in the 
presence of the Emperor, remarked so truly: 



SMOKE 

*' Madame, le principe de la propriSU est pro f on- 
dement ihranle en Russie/' According to their 
wont, our amiable fellow-countrymen and women 
assembled at the " Russian Tree "—a V Arbre 
Russe;— they strolled up ostentatiously, care- 
lessly, fashionably, greeted each other majes- 
tically, with elegant ease, as is befitting beings who 
stand at the apex of contemporary culture, but, 
having met and seated themselves, they positively 
did not know what to say to one another, and con- 
tented themselves with the exchange of empty 
phrases, or with the threadbare, extremely impu- 
dent and extremely insipid sallies of a French ex- 
literary man, who had loiig since seen his best 
days, a jester and chatter-box, with Jewish slip- 
pers on his wretched little feet, and with a con- 
temptible little beard on his miserable little phiz. 
He babbled to them, a ces princes Russes, all sorts 
oi^ stale nonsense out of ancient almanacs of the 
\ Charivari and Tintamarre, . . while they— cet 
\ princes Riisses— hurst into grateful laughter, as 
though involuntarily acknowledging both the 
overwhelming superiority of foreign wit and 
their own definitive incapacity to devise anything 
amusing. And yet there was present almost all 
the '^ fine fleur *' of our society, " all the quality 
and the models of fashion." There was Count 
X., our incomparable dilettante, a profound mu- 
sical nature, who " recites '' romances so divinely, 
and, as a matter of fact, cannot distinguish one 

6 



I 'J 



SMOKE 

Annette, who would have possessed every charm 
were it not that from time to time suddenly, like 
the odour of cabbage in the midst of the finest 
amber, the common country washerwoman had 
not cropped out; and Princess Pachette, to whom 
the following catastrophe happened: her husband 
lighted upon a conspicuous position and all of a 
sudden, Dieu salt pourquoi, he thrashed the mayor 
of the town and stole twenty thousand rubles of 
the government money; and that mirthful maiden 
—Princess Zizi, and tearful Princess Zozo; all of 
them deserted their fellow-country people and 
treated them ungraciously. . • But let us also 
desert them, these charming ladies, and quit the 
famous tree around which they are seated in such 
costly but rather tasteless toilettes, and may the 
Lord send them relief from the ennui which is 
tormenting them ! 



8 



II 

Several paces removed from the " Russian 
Tree," at a small table in front of Weber's cafe, 
sat a man about thirty years of age, of medium 
stature, lean and swarthy, with a manly and 
agreeable face. Bending forward and leaning on 
his cane with both hands, he sat quietly and sim-^ 
ply, like a man to whom the idea would never oc- 
cur that any one was noticing him or taking an 
interest in him. His large, expressive eyes, brown 
with a tawny tinge, gazed slowly about him, now 
blinking a little with the sunlight, again suddenly 
and intently following some eccentric figure that 
passed by, in which last case a swift, childlike 
smile barely moved his slight moustache, his lips 
and strong physiognomy. He was clad in a loose 
frock-coat of German cut, and his soft grey hat 
half concealed his lofty brow. At firs^ sight he 
produced the impression of an honourable, active 
and rather self-confident young fellow, of which 
sort there are not a few in the world. He ap- 
peared to be resting from prolonged labours, and 
with all the more singleness of mind was divert- 
ing himself with the picture which unfolded itself 
before him, because his thoughts were far away, 
and because, moreover, those thoughts were re- 

» 



y 



SMOKE 

volving in a world which did not in the least re- 
semble that *which surrounded him at that mo- 
ment. He was a Russian; his name was Grigory 
Mikhaflovitch Litvinoff, 

We must make his acquaintance, and therefore 
it becomes necessary to narrate, in a few words, 
his far from gay or complicated past. 

The son of a retired plodding official f rcnn the 
merchant class, he had not been educated in town, 
as might have been expected, but in the coimtry. 
His mother was a noble by birth, a girl from one 
of the Gk)yemment Institutes, a very amiable 
and very enthusiastic being, yet not lacking 
in strength of character. Being twelve years 
younger than her husband, she remodelled his 
education as far as she was able, dragged him out 
of the official into the noble rut, tamed and sof- 
tened his harsh, vigorous nature. Thanks to her, 
he had come to dress neatly and behave with 
propriety, and had left off swearing; he had 
come to respect learned men and learning, — 
although, of course, he never took a book 
in his hand,— and endeavoured in every way never 
to derogate from his dignity: he even began to 
walk more lightly, and he spoke in a subdued 
voice, chiefly on lofty subjects, which cost him no 
little trouble. '' Ekh! I 'd like to take and spank 
youl " he sometimes said to himself, but aloud he 
remarked: " Yes, yes ... of course; that is the 
question." Litvfnoff's mother had put her house- 

10 



SMOKE 

hold also on a European footing; she said *^ you " 
to the servants, and permitted no one to overeat 
at dinner to the point of snoring. So far as the 
estate which belonged to her was concerned, 
neither she nor her husband had been able to make 
anything out of it: it had long been neglected, 
but was extensive with various meadows, forests 
and a lake, beside which, in times gone by, had 
stood a large factory established by the zealous 
but unsystematic owner, which had thriven in the 
hands of a knavish merchant, and had finally 
come to ruin under the direction of an honest 
manager, a Grcrman. Madame Litvinoff was sat- 
isfied with not having impaired her property and 
with having contracted no debts. Unfortunately, 
she could not boast of good health, and died of 
consumption during the very year that her son 
entered the Moscow University. He did not fin- 
ish his course, owing to circumstances (the reader 
will learn later on what they were) , and lounged 
about in the country, where he enjoyed life for a 
considerable time without occupation, or connec- 
tions, almost without acquaintances. Thanks to 
the nobles of his county, who were ill-disposed to- 
ward him, and imbued not so much with the 
Western theory of the evils of " absenteeism " as 
with the innate conviction that " charity begins at 
home," he was got into the militia in 1855, and 
came near dying of typhus in the Crimea, where, 
without having beheld a single " ally,*' he was 

11 



SMOKE 

quartered for six months in an earth-hut on the 
banks of the Putrid Sea; then he served in the 
elections, as a matter of course, not without un- 
pleasantness, and finding himself at ease in the 
country he became passionately devoted to farm- 
ing. He comprehended that his mother's prop- 
erty, badly and indolently managed by his now 
infirm father, did not yield a tenth part of the 
income which it was capable of yielding, and that 
in experienced and expert hands it might be con- 
verted into a regular gold mine; but he also com- 
prehended that precisely what he lacked was this 
experience and skill — ^and he betook himself 
abroad to study agronomy and technology— to 
study them from the very foimdation. He had 
spent more than four years in Mecklenburg, 
Silesia, Karlsruhe, he had travelled in Belgium 
and in England, he had laboured conscientiously, 
he had acquired information: it had not been 
easily acquired; but he had endured the ordeal 
to the end, and now, confident of himself, of his 
future, of the utility he could bring to his fellow- 
countrymen, even to the whole country, he was 
preparing to return to his native land, whither his 
father, utterly disconcerted by the emancipa- 
tion, by the division of lands, by the redemption 
contracts,— by the new order of things, in short,— 
was summoning him with despairing adjurations 
and entreaties in every letter. • • But why was 
he in Baden? 

12 



SMOKE 

He was in Baden because from day to day he 
was expecting the arrival there of his second 
cousin, his affianced bride,— Tatyana Petr6vna / 
Shestoff. He had known her ahnost from child- ^ 
hood, and had passed the spring and summer with 
her in Dresden, where she had settled with her 
aunt. He sincerely loved, he profoundly re- 
spected his young relative, and having completed 
his obscure preparatory work, and being on the 
point of entering upon a new career, of beginning 
active, not state service, he had proposed to her, 
as to a beloved woman, as to a comrade and friend, 
that she should unite her life to his life— for joy 
and for sorrow, for toil and for repose, " for bet- 
ter, for worse," as the English say. She had con- 
sented, and he had betaken himself to Karlsruhe, 
where he had left his books, his things and his 
papers. . . But why was he in Baden, you ask 
again? 

He was in Baden because Tatydna's aunt, who 
had reared her, Kapitolina Mdrkovna Shestoff, v 
an elderly spinster of fifty-five years, a most kind- 
hearted and honourable eccentric, a free soul, all 
burning with the fire of self-sacrifice and self- 
renunciation, an esprit fort (she read Strauss,— 
on the sly from her niece, it is true) , and demo- 
crat, a sworn foe of grand society and the aris- 
tocracy, could not resist the temptation to take 
just one little peep at that same grand society in 
such a fashionable place as Baden. . . Kapito- 

18 



SMOKE 

lina Mdrkovna dispensed with crinoline and 
clipped her white hair in a shock, but luxury and 
brilliancy secretly agitated her, and she found it 
joyful and sweet to rail against them and despise 
them. • • And how could one refuse to divert the 
kindly old lady? 

But Litvinoff was so calm and simple, he gazed 
about him so confidently, because his life lay be- 
fore him with precise clearness, because his fate 
had been settled, and because he was proud of that 

I fate, and was rejoicing in it, as the work of his 

' own hands. 



U 



Ill 

'' Ba! ba! ba! here he is! " a squeaking voice sud- 
denly rang out straight in his ear, and a flabby 
hand tapped him on the should^. 

He raised his head,— and beheld one of his few 
Moscow acquaintances, a certain Bambdeff , a nice 
man, one of the triflers, no longer young, with 
cheeks and nose as soft as though they had beati 
boiled, greasy, dishevelled hair, and a flabby, 
obese body. Eternally penniless and eternally in 
raptures over something or other, Rostisldff Bam- 
baefi^ roamed to and fro, with a hurrah but with- 
out occupation, over the face of our long-suffer- 
ing mother earth, 

" The very person I wanted to seel "—he re- 
peated, opening wide his fat-obscured little eyes, 
and thrusting out his thick little lips, above which 
a dyed moustache stuck out in a strange and in- 
appropriate manner. — "Hurrah for Baden! 
Every one crawls hither like black beetles. How 
didst thou get here? " 

Bambaeff addressed positively every one on 
earth as " thou." 

" I arrived three days ago." 

"Whence?" 

16 



SMOKE 

" But wHy dost thou wish to know? " 

" Why, indeed! But wait, wait, perhaps thou 
dost not know who else has arrived here? Guba- 
ryofF! That 's who is here! He came from Hei- 
delberg yesterday. Of course thou knowest 
him?" 

" I have heard of him/' 

" Only that? Grood gracious! Instantly, this 
very minute, I shall drag thee to him. Not know 
such a man! And, by the way, here 's Voroshi- 
Ipff, • • . Stay, perhaps thou dost not know him 
either? I have the honour to present you to each 
other. Both of you are learned men. He 's even 
a very phoenix. Kiss each other! " 

And as he uttered these words, Bambdeff 
turned to a handsome young man with a rosy but 
already serious face, who was standing beside him. 
Litvfnoff rose, and of course did not kiss him, 
but exchanged a brief salute with the " phoenix," 
who, judging by the stiffness of his demeanour, 
was not any too well pleased by this unexpected 
introduction. 

" I said a phoenix, and I will not withdraw the 
word," continued BambaefF:— " go to Peters- 
burg, to the * * * Cadet Corps, and look at the 
golden board— roll of honour— whose name 
stands first there? Voroshfloff Semyon Yakov- 
levitch! But Gubaryoff, Gubary6ff, my dear 
fellows! That 's the man to whom we must run, 
run! I positively worship that man! And I 'm 

16 



SMOKE 

not the only one; all, without distinction, adore 
him. What a work he is now writing, oh . . . 
oh • . . ohl" 

"What is the work about?" inquired Litvi- 
noff. 

" About everything, my dear fellow, in the 
style of Buckle, you know . . only more pro- 
found—more profound. . . In it everything will 
be settled and made clear.'' 

" And hast thou read that work thyself? " 

" No, I have not; and it is even a secret which 
must not be divulged ; but from Gubaryoff every- 
thing is to be expected, everything! Yesl"— 
Bambdeff sighed and folded his hands.—" What 
if two or three more such heads were bred among 
Us in Russia, what would happen, O Lord my 
God 1 1 '11 tell thee one thing, Grigory Mikhailo- 
vitch: whatever thou mayest have been occupying 
thyself with of late,— and I do not know what thy 
interests in general are,— whatever may be thy 
convictions,— and I know nothing about them 
either,- thou wilt find something to learn from 
him, from Gubaryofi^. Unfortunately, he will 
not be here long. We must take advantage of the 
opportunity, we must go. To him, to himl " 

A passing dandy with small red curls and a 
sky-blue ribbon on his low-crowned hat turned 
round and stared at Bambaeff through his mon- 
ocle with a sarcastic smile. Litvinofi^ was vexed. 

"Why dost thou shout?" he ejaculated: — -^ 



SMOKE 

*' thou yellest as though after a hound I I have 
not yet dined." 

" What of thatl We can dine immediately at 
Weber's . . all three. . Capital! Hast thou the 
money to pay for me? " he added in an undertone. 

" Yes, yes; only really I do not know . . ." 

" Stop, please; thou wilt thank me, and he will 
begkd. Akh, my Godl"Bambdeff broke off.— 
" They 're playing the finale from ' Emani.' 
How charming! A som . . . mo Carlo. . • But 
what a fellow I am ! I begin to cry at once. Well, 
Semyon Yakovlevitch! Voroshfloff! Shall we 
go? 

Voroshflo£f, who was still standing in a stiff 
and stately attitude, maintaining his original 
somewhat haughty dignity of mien, dropped his 
eyes significantly, frowned, and bellowed some- 
thing through his teeth . . . but did not refuse; 
and Litvfnoff said to himself: "Never mind! let 's 
do it, seeing there 's plenty of time." Bambaeff 
slipped his arm into his, but before setting out 
for the cafe he beckoned to Isabella, the famous 
flower-girl of the Jockey Club: it had occurred 
to him to buy a bouquet of her. But the aristo- 
cratic flower-girl did not stir; and why should she 
go to a gentleman without gloves, in a stained vel- 
veteen jacket, a variegated necktie, and patched 
boots, whom she had never beheld in Paris ? Then 
Voroshfloff beckoned to her in his turn. She 
went to him, and he, selecting from her basket a 

18 



SMOKE 

tiny bunch of violets, tossed her a gulden. He 
had thought to astonish her with his lavishness; 
but she never moved an eyelash, and when he 
turned away from her she curled her closely •com- 
pressed lips in scorn. Voroshfloff was very fop- 
pishly, even elegantly, clad, but the experienced 
eye of the Parisienne had instantly noted in his 
toilette, in his very gait, which bore traces of early 
mihtary drilling, the absence of genuine, thor- 
oughbred " chic." 

When our acquaintances had seated themselves 
in Weber's principal room and had ordered din- 
ner, they entered into conversation. Bambdeff 
talked loudly and fervently about the lofty sig- 
nificance of Gubaryoff , but soon fell silent, and 
noisily sighing and chewing, clinked glass to 
glass. Voroshfloff ate and drank little, and hav- 
ing questioned Litvinoff as to the nature of his 
occupation, began to express his own opinions • • . 
not so much with regard to that occupation as in 
general about various " questions." . . He sud- 
denly grew animated and started off at full gal- 
lop, like a good horse, adroitly and sharply em- 
phasising every syllable, every letter, like a 
fine dashing young cadet at his final ex- 
amination, and waving his arms violently, but 
not in accord. He became momentarily more vol- 
uble, more energetic, as no one interrupted him: 
it was exactly as though he were reading a disser- 
tation or a lecture. The names of the newest 

19 



SMOKE 

savantSy with the year of each one's birth or death 
added, the title of pamphlets which had just been 
published, in general names, names, names,— 
fell thick and fast from his tongue, affording him 
the highest gratification, which was reflected in 
his flashing eyes. Voroshfloff evidently despised 
everything old, prized only the cream of culture, 
the latest, most advanced points of science; to 
mention, even inopportunely, the book of some 
Doctor Sauerbrengel about the prisons in Penn- 
sylvania, or an article which had appeared the 
previous day in The Asiatic Journal about the 
Vedas and the Puranas (he said it in just that 
way: " Journal," although, of course, he did not 
know English)— was for him genuine delight, 
felicity. Litvinoff listened to him, listened and 
could not in the least understand what his own 
speciality was. Now he turned the conversation 
upon the role of the Celtic race in history; again 
it bore him off to the ancient world, and he argued 
about the marbles of JEgina, harped insistently 
on the sculptor Onatas, who lived before Phidias, 
but who, in his hands, was transformed into Jona- 
than, and thereby, in the twinkling of an eye, im- 
parted to his whole argument a biblical or Ameri- 
can colouring; then he suddenly jmnped to polit- 
ical economy, and called Bastia a fool and a 
blockhead, " as much so as Adam Smith and all 
the physiocrats " . • . "Physiocrats! " Bambaeff 
whispered after him . . . "Aristocrats? . . ." 

20 



SMOKE 

Among other things, Voroshiloff had evoked an 
expression of amazement on the cowitenance of 
that same Bambaeff by a remark carelessly and 
lightly dropped concerning Macaulay, as an ob- 
solete author who had been left in the lurch by 
science; as for Gneist and Riehl, he declared that 
it was merely necessary to name them, and 
shrugged his shoulders. Bambaeff shrugged his 
shoulders also. '' And all this at one burst, with- 
out any motive whatever, in the presence of stran- 
gers in a cafe," meditated Litvinoff, a^ he gazed 
at the blond hair, the light eyes, the white teeth 
of his new acquaintance (he was particularly dis- 
turbed by those huge, sugar-like teeth, and also 
by those arms, with their inappropriate flour- 
ishes) ; " and he does not smile even once; and yet 
he must be a kindly young fellow and extremely 
inexperienced. . ." Voroshfloff quieted down at 
last; his voice, youthfully resonant and hoarse as 
that of a young cock, broke a little • • • and 
Bambdeff in the nick of time began to declaim 
verses, and again almost fell to weeping, which 
produced the effect of a row at one neigh- 
bouring table, around which an English family 
was seated, and a tittering at another: two cour- 
tesans were dining at this second table with a very 
aged infant in a lilac wig. The waiter brought 
the bill; the friends paid it. 

" Well," exclaimed Bambdeff, rising heavily 
from his chair:—" now for a cup of coffee, and 

21 



SMOKE 

march! But yonder it is, our Russia/* he added, 

halting in the doorway, and ahnost with rapture 

pointing with his soft, red hand at VoroshQoff 

and LitvfnofF. . . " What do you think of it? " 

I " Yes, Russia," thought Litvfnoff ; but Voro- 

I shfloff, who had already again succeeded in im- 

^ parting to his face a concentrated expression, 

smiled condescendingly, and lightly clicked his 

heels together. 

Five minutes later all three of them were 
mounting the stairs of the hotel where Stepdn 
Nikoldevitch Gubary6ff was stopping. . . A tall, 
stately lady, in a bonnet with a short black veil, 
was descending the same staircase, and on catch- 
ing sight of Litvfnoff she suddenly turned to him 
and halted, as though struck with amazement. 
Her face flushed for a moment and then as swiftly 
paled beneath the close meshes of the lace; but 
Litvfnoff did not notice her, and the lady ran 
more briskly than before down the broad steps. 



22 



IV 

" Grigoby LiTviNorF is a jolly good fellow, a 
Russian soul; I recommend him/' exclaimed Bam- 
hieff, conducting Litvinoff up to a man of short 
stature and the appearance of the landed gentry 
cla^s, with an unbuttoned collar, in a short-tailed 
coat, grey morning trousers, and slippers, who 
was standing in the middle of a bright, capitally- 
furnished room;—" and this," he added, turning 
to Litvinoff,— " this is he, the very man; you un- 
derstand? Well, in one word, Gubary6ff.'' 

Litvfnoff fixed his eyes with curiosity on " the 
very man." At first he perceived nothing unusual 
about him. He beheld before him a gentleman 
of respectable and rather stupid appearance, with 
a large forehead, large eyes, a lai'ge beard, 
a thick neck, and an oblique glance, which was 
directed downward. This gentleman simpered, 
muttered: " Mmm . . . yes . • . that 's good . . • 
I 'm delighted • • • ," raised his hand to his own 
face, and immediately turning his back on Lit- 
vinoff , strode several paces across the carpet, wab- 
bling slowly and strangely, a^ though he were 
walking stealthily. Gubaryoff had a habit of 
constantly walking to and fro, incessantly pluck- 

28 



SMOKE 

ing at and combing his beard witfi tHe tips of his 
long, firm nails. In addition to Gubary6ff there 
was in the room a lady in a shabby silk gown, 
about fifty years of age, with a remarkably mobile 
face as yellow as a lemon, black down on her up- 
per lip, and vivacious little eyes which seemed on 
the point of popping out; a thick-set man was 
also sitting there doubled up in a comer. 

"Well, ma'am, respected Matr6na Semyo- 
novna," began Gubaryoff, addressing the lady, 
and evidently not considering it necessary to in- 
troduce her to Litvinoff ;— " dear me, what was it 
that you had begun to tell us? " 

The lady (her name was Matrona Semyonovna 
SukhdntchikofF; she was a widow, childless, not 
rich, and this was the second year that she had 
spent in wandering from land to land) immedi- 
ately began to talk with a peculiar, embittered 
enthusiasm: 

"Well, .and so he presents himself to the 
Prince, and says to him: * Your Illustrious High- 
ness,' says he,—* with your dignity and your sta- 
tion, what does it cost you to alleviate my lot? 
You,' says he, * cannot fail to respect the purity 
of my convictions 1 And is it possible,' says he, 
* in our day to persecute a man because of his con- 
victions? ' And what do you think the Prince,— 
that cultured, highly-placed dignitary— did? " 

"Well, what did he do?" ejaculated Cuba- 
ryoff, thoughtfully lighting a cigarette. 

24 



SMOKE 

The lady drew herself up, and stretched out in 
front of her her hony right hand, with the index 
finger separated: 

" He called his lackey, and said to him: * Strip 
the coat off this man and take possession of it. 
I make you a present of his coat/ " 

" And did the lackey strip it off? " inquired 
Bambaeff, clasping his hands. 

'' He stripped it off and took it. And that was 
done by Prince Barnauloff , the famous rich man, 
the grandee, invested with special power, the rep- 
resentative of the government 1 What may we 
expect after thatl " 

Madame Sukh^ntchikoff's feeble body quiv- 
ered all over with indignation, convulsive shivers 
flitted across her face, her emaciated bosom 
heaved violently beneath her flat bodice; it is un- 
necessary to mention her eyes: they fairly leaped. 
However, they were alwajrs leaping, whatever she 
was talking about. 

"'Tis a crying, crying shame!" ejaculated 
Bambdeff.— " Hanging is too good for him! " 

" Mmm • • . mmm . . • From top to bottom 
it 's all rotten," remarked Gubary6ff, but without 
raising his voice.—" It is n't a case for hanging; 
... 't is a case . . . for other measures." 

" But stay; is it true? " said Litvinoff. 

" Is it true? " retorted Madame Sukhantchi- 
koff.— "Why, it's impossible even to think of 
doubting, impossible to thi-i-i-ink of such a 

25 



SMOKE 

thing. /* She uttered the word with such force 
that she fairly writhed.—" It was told to me by a 
most reliable man. And you know him, Stepdn 
NikolAevitch— Kapit6n Elistrdtoff. He heard it 
himself from an eye-witness, from a witness of 
that outrageous scene." 

" What Elistritoff ? " inquired Gubary6ff.— 
" The one who was in Eazin? " 

** The very man. I know, Stepdn Nikoli- 
itdi, that a rumour was circulated about him 
tiiat he had got money out of some contractor 
or distiller or other. But who says that? Peli- 
kdnoff I And can one believe Pelikdnoff, when 
everybody knows that he is simply— a spy? " 

" No, permit me, Matr6na Semyonovna," in- 
terposed BambdefF: — " I am Pelikanoff's friend; 
I don*t believe he is a spy." 

" Yes, yes, exactly that, a spyl " 

" But wait a bit, please. . ." 

" A spy, a spyl " screamed Madame Sukh^n- 
tchikoff. " 

" But he isn't, no, wait; I '11 tell you some- 
thing," shouted Bambieff in his turn. 

" A spy, a spy! " reiterated Madame Sukh^n- 
tchikoff. 

"No, nol There's Tenteleeff— that 's quite 
another matter 1 " roared Bambdeff at the top of 
his voice. 

Madame Sukhantcliikoff became silent for a 
moment. 

26 



SMOKE 

" I know it for a fact, with regard to that gen- 
tleman/' continued Bambdeff in his ordinary 
voice, '' that when the Third Section summoned 
him he crawled at the feet of Countess Blazen- 
kampf and kept whining: ' Save me, intercede for 
me!' But Pelikdnoff never descended to such 
baseness." 

"Mm . . . TenteleefF . . ." growled Guba- 
ry6ff :— " that . . that must be noted." 

Madame Sukh^ntchikoff scornfully shrugged 
her shoulders. 

" Both are good," she remarked:— "but I know 
a still better anecdote about Tentel6eff. As 
every one knows, he was the most dreadful tyrant 
with his people, although he gave himself out as 
an emancipator. Well, one day he was sitting 
with some acquaintances in Paris, when, all of a 
sudden, in comes Mrs. Beecher Stowe,— well, you 
know, * Uncle Tom's Cabin.' Tenteleeflf, a 
frightfully conceited man, began to urge the host 
to present him; but as soon as Mrs. Stowe heard 
his name: * What? '—says she:— * how dares he 
make acquaintance with the author of * Uncle 
Tom'? And, whack, she slapped his facel— 
* Begone 1 ' says she, — * this instant 1 ' — And 
what do you think? Tenteleeff took his hat, 
and putting his tail between his legs, he slunk 
off." 

" Well, that strikes toe as exaggerated," re- 
marked Bambieff.— " That she did say * Be- 



SMOKE 

gonel * to him is a fact; but she did not slap his 
face." 

" She did slap his face, she did slap his face/' 
repeated Madame SukhiLntchikoff, with convul- 
sive intensity:—"! don't talk nonsense. And 
you are the friend of such people 1 " 

"Excuse me, excuse me, Matr6na Semyo- 
novna, I never asserted that Tenteleeff was an in- 
timate friend of mine; I was speaking of Peli- 
kdnoff." 

" Well, if it was n't Tenteleeff, it was some one 
else: Mikhnyoff, for instance." 

" What did he do? " asked Bamb^ff, intimi- 
dated in advance. ( 

"What? Don't yoii really know? On the 
Vosnesensky Prospekt, in the presence of every- 
body, he shouted out that all liberals ought to 
be in prison; and then an old boardingnsdiool 
comrade, a poor man, of course, comes up 
to him, and says: *May I dine with you?' 
But he answered him: * No, you cannot; two 
Counts are to dine with me to-day . . . . g* 
'wayl'" 

" But good gracious, that is a calumny! " clam- 
oured BambiefF. 

"A calmnny? . . • a calumny? In the first 
place, Prince Vakhnishkin, who also was dining 
with your Mikhny6ff . . ." 

" Prince Vakhnishkin," interposed Gubary6ff 
sternly,—" is my first cousin; but I will not re- 



SMOKE 

ceive Eim. • • Consequently, fEere is no use o7 
mentioning him." 

" In the second place," continued Madame 
SukhdntchikofF, submissively inclining her head 
in the direction of Gubaryoff :— " Praskovya 
Yakovlevna herself told me so." 

"A fine person to allege as authority I She 
and SarkisofF are first-class inventors of tales." 

" Well, sir, you must excuse me; Sarkisoff is 
a liar, that *s a fact, and that he pulled the brocade 
pall off his dead father I will never deny; but 
Praskovya Yak6vlevna,— what a comparison! 
Recollect how nobly she separated from her hus- 
band I But you, I know, are always ready 
to " 

'' Come, that will do, that will do, Matr6na 
Semy6novna," Bambdeff interrupted her.— "Let 
us drop this tittle-tattle and soar aloft. I 'm a 
poker of ancient make,* you see. Have you read 
' M'Ue de la Quintinie '? It 's charming I And 
with exactly your principles! " 

" I no longer read romances," replied Madame 
Sukhdntchikoff, drily and curtly. 

"Why?" 

Because it is no time for such things; I 
have only one thing in my head now— sewing- 
machines." 

" What sort of machines? " inquired Litvinoff. 

" Sewing-, sewing-machines; all women, all, 

lAn ol4-fashioned man.— TiAVfLATOit 

20 



SMOKE 

must supply themselves with sewing-machines, 
and fonn a society; in that way they will all earn 
their living and will at once become independent. 
Otherwise, they cannot possibly free themselves. 
It is an important, an important social question. 
Bol^slaff Stadnitzky and I had such a dispute 
about that. BoleslafF Stadnitzky has a wonder- 
ful nature, but he looks on these things in a fright- 
fully frivolous way. He does nothing but laugh. 
. . . The fool!" 

" All men will be summoned, in due season, to 
an accounting— all men will be held responsible/' 
remarked Gubary6ff slowly, in a partly dogmatic, 
partly prophetic tone. 

"Yes, yes," repeated Bambaeff:— " they will 
be held responsible— exactly so, held responsible. 
And how about your work, Stepdn Nikolaitch," 
he added, lowering his voice:— "is it pro- 
gressing? " 

I " I am collecting the materials," replied Guba- 

|ry6ff, knitting his brows; and turning to Litvi- 

^ noff , whose head was growing giddy with that 

mess of names which were unfamiliar to him, 

with that frenzy of gossip, asked him: with what 

did he occupy himself? 

Litvfnoff satisfied his curiosity. 

" Ah I that is to say with the natural sciences. 

That is useful, as a school. As a school, not 

as a goal. The goal now should be ... . 

mm • . • should be . . . something else. Per- 

80 



SMOKE 

mit me to inquire, with what opinions do you take 
sides? " 

" What opinions? " 

'' Yes; that is to say, what are your political 
convictions? " 

Litvfnoff smiled. 
\ ** I really have no political opinions whatever." 

At these words the thick-set man, who was sit- 
ting in the corner, suddenly raised his head, and 
gazed attentively at Litvfnoff. 

" How so? " said Gubary6ff, with strange 
gentleness.— " Haven't you gone into the sub- 
ject yet, or have you already grown tired of it? " 

" How shall I explain it to you? It seems to 
me that it is still too early for us Russians to have 
political opinions, or to imagine that we have 
them. Observe that I give to the word ' political * 
the meaning which rightfully belongs to it, and 
xnab • • • • 

" Ahal you 're one of the unripe ones," Guba- 
ryoff interrupted him with the same gentleness, 
and approaching Voroshiloff, he asked him:— had 
he read the pamphlet which he had given him? 

Voroshfloff, who, to Litvinoff's surprise, had 
not uttered the smallest word since his arrival, but 
had merely scowled and rolled his eyes about (as 
a rule he either orated or maintained complete 
silence) ,— Voroshfloff thrust out his chest in mili- 
tary fashion, and clicking his heels together, 
nodded his head in the affirmative. 

81 



SMOKE 

" Well, and what then? Were you pleased? ** 

" So far as the principal premises are con- 
cerned, but I do not agree with the deductions." 

" Mmm . . . but Andrei Ivdnitch praised that 
pamphlet to me very highly. You must state 
your doubts to me later on." 

Gubaryoff was evidently surprised: he had not 
expected this; but after reflecting briefly, he artic- 
ulated: 

" Yes, in writing. By the way, I will ask you 
to state for me also your views • • . • as to . . • 
as to association." 

" Would you like it after the method of Las- 
salle, or of Schulze-Delitzsch? " 

" Mmm . . • after both methods. You under- 
stand that the financial side is especially impor- 
tant for us Russians. Well, and the working- 
men's union ^ as the kernel. . • All that must be 
taken into consideration. It must be thoroughly 
investigated. And there is the question of the 
peasants' allotments. . ." 

" And what is your opinion, Stepdn Nikold- 
itch, as to the suitable amount of desyatinas? " 
inquired Voroshflofl^, with respectful delicac}^ 
in his voice. 

" Mmm . • • And the commune? " said Gu- 
bary6fi^ with profundity, and gnawing a tuft of 

^ The arUl^which represents workingmen united in volontary, das- 
tic associations for the purpose of fulfilling contracts to advan- 
tage, insuring trustworthiness^ and so forth. —Tbakslatoi. 

82 



SMOKE 

his bearii He riveted his eyes on the leg of the table. 

I — " The commune. . . Do you understand? 

\ That is a grand word! And then, what is the 
meaning of these conflagrations .... these gov- 
ernmental measures against Sunday-schools/ 
reading-rooms, newspapers?— and, in conclusion, 
that which is going on in Poland ? Do you not see 
to what all this is leading, that . . . mm . • • 

\ that we . . . we must now fuse ourselves with the 

j people, must find out . . find out their opinion? " 
— Gubary6fi^ was suddenly seized with a painful, 
almost malignant, agitation; he even turned a 
greyish-brown hue in the face and breathed more 
vehemently, but still he did not raise his eyes, and 
continued to chew his beard. — "Do you not 

oCC .... 

" Evseefi^ is a scoxmdrell " suddenly blurted out 
Madame Sukh^ntchikofi^, to whom Bambdefi^ was 
narrating something in an undertone, out of re- 
spect for the host. Gubary6ff wheeled abruptly 
round on his heels, and began again to hobble up 
and down the room. 

New guests began to make their appearance; 
toward the end of the evening a considerable num- 
ber of persons had assembled. Among them came 
also Mr. Evseefi^, who had been so harshly abused 
by Madame Sukhdntchikofi^: she chatted with 

^ For the instruction in the common branches of workingmen who 
are occupied on week-days. As religion ibrms a prominent subject 
in all school-courses in Russia, Sunday-schools in the Western sense 
of the word are unnecessary. — ^Trawslatoe. 

38 



SMOKE 

death, and had, on that account, received a 
medal with the inscription: "For a useful 
deed " ; about the proletariat, about the Georgian 
Prince Tchuktcheulidzeff, who had fired his wife 
from a cannon, and about the future of Russia; 
Pishtchdlkin also talked about the future of Rus- 
sia, about government monopolies, about the sig- 
nificance of nationality, and about his detesting 
commonplace things most of all; Voroshiloff sud- 
denly broke out: in one breath, and almost chok- 
ing himself in the process, he mentioned Draper, 
Virchow, Mr. Shelgunoff, Bichat, Helmholtz, 
Stahr, Stuhr, Raymond, Johannes Miiller the 
physiologist, Johannes Miiller the historian,— evi- 
dently confounding them,— Taine, Renan, Mr. 
Shtchapoff, and then Thomas Nash, Peel, 
Greene. . . " What sort of birds are these? " 
muttered Bambaeff in amazement. " The prede- 
cessors of Shakespeare, who bear to hini the same 
relation that the ramifications of the Alps bear 
to Mont Blanc! " replied Voroshfloff cuttingly, 
and also touched upon the future of Russia. 
Bambaefi^, too, talked about the future of Rus- 
sia, and even painted it in rainbow-tinted colours, 
but was raised to special rapture by the thought 
of Russian music, in which he beheld something 
" Ukhl great," and in confirmation he struck up 
a romance by Varlimofi^, but was speedily inter- 
rupted by a unanimous shout to the efi^ect : '' He 's 
singing the Miserere from ' Trovatore,' and sing- 
ing it very badly at that." One young officer, un- 

86 



SMOKE 

3er cover of the uproar, reviled Russian litera- 
ture, another quoted verses from the " Spark"; 
but Tit Bindasoff behaved still more simply: he 
announced that all those rascals ought to have 
their teeth knocked out— and enough said! with- 
out, however, specifying who those rascals were. 
The cigar-smoke became stifling; every one was 
heated and languid, all had grown hoarse, every 
one's eyes had grown dim, the perspiration was 
coursing in streams from every face. Bottles of 
cold beer made their appearance, and were in- 
stantly emptied. " What the deuce was it I 
was saying?" insisted one; "and whom and 
about what have I just been talking? " inquired 
another. And in the midst of all this tumult 
and smoke-laden atmosphere Gubaryoff strode 
about untiringly, waddling and ruffling his 
beard as before, now listening, with ear inclined, 
to some one's argument, again putting in a word 
of his own, and every one involuntarily felt that 
he, Gubaryoff, was the matrix of the whole af- 
fair, that he was the master and chief personage 
there. ... 

About ten o'clock Litvinoff's head began to 
ache violently, and he quietly withdrew, availing 
himself of a recrudescence of the general clam- 
our: Madame Sukhintchikoff had recalled an- 
other piece of injustice on the part of Prince 
Bamaiiloff: he had practically ordered some 
one's ear to be bitten off. 

The fresh night air chmg caressingly to Lit- 
87 



SMOKE 

him in a very friendly manner, and asked him to 
escort her home; there came also a certain Pish- 
tchdlkin, an ideal arbitrator of the peace,* pre- 
cisely one of those men of whom, possibly, Russia 
is in need, namely— narrow, badly educated and 
untalented but conscientious, patient, and hon- 
ourable; the peasants of his district almost wor- 
shipped him, and he treated himself with extreme 
respect as an individual truly worthy of homage. 
There came also several young officers who had 
run off on a brief leave of absence to Europe, 
and were delighted at the opportunity, cautiously, 
of course, and without banishing from their minds 
a mental reservation about the regimental com- 
mander, to indulge themselves with clever and 
rather dangerous people; and two slender young 
students had run over from Heidelberg: one kept 
gazing scornfully about him, the other laughed 
spasmodically . . and both were very ill at ease; 
after them a Frenchman pushed his way in, a so- 
called p*tit jewne homme: dirty, poor and stu- 
pid • . he was famous among his comrades, who 
were travelling salesmen, because Russian Coun- 
tesses fell in love with him; but he himself was 
more intent on a gratuitous supper; last of all. 
Tit Binddsoff presented himself, with the aspect 
of a noisy student, but in reality he was a cur- 
mudgeon and a crafty fellow, in speech a terror- 

1 An oificiAi appointed at the time of the emancipation of the serfs 
to decide dissensions between them and the landed proprietors arising 
out of the distribution of the land. — TsAiiSLAToa. 

84 



SMOKE 

ist, by vocation a polioe-captain, the friend of 
Russian merchants' wives and of Parisian cour- 
tesans, bald, toothless, drunken; he presented 
himself in a very crimson and evil state, asserting 
that he had lost his last kop^k to that " little rascal 
Benazet," when, in reality, he had won sixteen 

I gulden. • . In a word, a great many persons as- 
sembled. The respect with which all the visitors 
I treated Gubaryoff as a teacher or leader was re- 
' markable— truly remarkable; they expounded to 
him their doubts, submitted them to his judg- 
ment; but he replied . • with a bellow, by .tug- 
ging at his beard, by rolling his eyes, or by 
fragmentary, insignificant words, which were im- 
mediately caught up on the fly like utterances of 
the loftiest wisdom. Gubaryoff^ himself rarely 
joined in the discussion; on the other hand, the 
rest zealously strained their chests. It hap- 
pened more than once that three or four were 
shouting simultaneously for the course of ten 
minutes, but every one was satisfied and under- 
stood. The conversation lasted until after mid- 
night, and was distinguished, as usual, by the 
abundance and the variety of subjects. Ma- 
dame Sukhdntchikofi^ talked about Garibaldi, 
about some Karl Ivdnovitch, who had been 
flogged by his own house-serfs, about Napoleon 
III., about female labour, about merchant Ples- 
katchyofi^, who, according to common know- 
ledge, had starved twelve working-girls tq 



SMOKE 

a man with an awkward and even a rather wild, 
but assuredly not a commonplace, aspect. He 
was negligently dressed: an old-fashioned coat 
sat on him like a bag, and his necktie had got 
I twisted to one side. His sudden confidence not 
only did not impress Lit\anoff as an intrusion, 
but, on the contrary, secretly flattered him: it was 
impossible not to perceive that this man was not 
in the habit of forcing himself upon strangers. 
He produced a strange impression upon Litvi- 
nofi^: he evoked in him both respect and sympa- 
' thy, and a certain involuntary pity. 

" So I do not disturb you? " he repeated in a 
soft, rather hoarse and feeble voice, which suited 
his whole figure to perfection. 

" Certainly not," replied Litvinoff ;— " on the 
contrary, I am very glad." 

" Really? Well, then, I am glad too. I have 
heard a great deal about you; I know what you 
are occupying yourself with and what your inten- 
tions are. 'T is a good occupation. That is the 
reason you were taciturn to-day, by the way." 

" Yes, and it strikes me that you had very little 
to say also," remarked Litvinoff. 

Potiigin sighed. 

" The others argued a very great deal, sir. I 
listened. Well," he added, after a brief pause, 
and setting his brows in rather comical fashion, 
— " were you pleased with our babel of an up- 
roar? " 

AO 



SMOKE 

" It was a regular babel. That was extremely 
well said on your part. I kept wanting to ask 
those gentlemen why they were making such a 
fuss." 

Again Potugin sighed. 

" That 's precisely the point, that they don't 
I know themselves, sir. In former times people 
would have expressed themselves about them in 
this manner: * They are the blind instruments of 
the highest aims ' ; well, but nowadays we employ 
harsher epithets. And observe that I myself have 
not the slightest intention of condemning them; I 
I will say more, they are all . • that is, almost all, 
[very fine people. I know a great deal that is 
good about Madame Sukhdntchikofi^, for exam- 
ple: she gave her last penny to two poor nieces- 
Let us assume that the motive there was a desire 
to show ofi^, to brag, yet you must admit that it 
was a noteworthy bit of self-sacrifice on the part 
of a woman who is not wealthy herself I About 
Mr. Pishtchdlkin it is unnecessary to speak: in 
due time the peasants of his district will infallibly 
present him with a silver cup in the shape of a 
watermelon, and possibly a holy image with the 
picture of his guardian angel, and although he 
will tell them in his speech of thanks that he does 
not deserve such an honour, he will be telling an 
untruth: he does deserve it. Your friend, Mr. 
Bambdefi^, has a splendid heart; it is true that, 
with him, as with the poet Yazyk6ff^, who, they 

41 



SMOKE 

say, extolled debauchery while he sat over a 
book and drank water, enthusiasm is really not 
directed at anything, but it is enthusiasm, never- 
theless; and Mr. Voroshfloff is extremely kind 
also; he is like all the men of his school, the men 
of the gilded classes, who seem to be sent expressly 
as orderlies to science, to civilisation; and he even 
holds his tongue pompously: but he is so young 
' still! Yes, yes, they are all excellent people, but 
the sum total is nothing; the provisions are first- 
class, but the dish isn't fit to put in your 
mouth 1" 

Litvinofi^ listened to Potugin with increasing 
amazement: all his ways, all the turns of his de- 
liberate, but self-confident speech, revealed both 
understanding and the desire to talk. 

Potugin, in fact, both liked and understood 
how to talk; but, as a man out of whom life had 
already succeeded in eliminating conceit, he 
awaited with philosophical composure his oppor- 
tunity, an encounter after his own heart. 

" Yes, yes," he began again, with a humour not 
sickly, but sad, which was peculiarly characteris- 
tic of him:—" all that is very strange, sir. And 
here is another thing which I will beg you to note. 
When ten Englishmen, for example, come to- 
gether, they immediately begin to discuss the sub- 
marine telegraph, the tax on paper, the process of 
dressing rats' skins,— that is to say, something 
positive, something definite; let ten Germans 

42 



SMOKE 

come togetHer,— well, there, of course, Schleswig* 
Holstein and the unity of Grermany make their 
appearance on the scene; if ten Frenchm^i as- 
semble the conversation will infallibly touch on 
'piquant adventures,' let them evade it as they 
will ; but when ten Russians get together the ques- 
tion instantly arises,— you have had an opportu- 
nity to-day of convincing yourself on that point, 
—the question as to the significance, the future 
of Russia, and that in just such general tennsi 
beginning with Leda's eggs, insusceptible of 
proof, without any issue. They chew and chew 
on that question, as a small child does on a piece 
of india rubber: there 's no juice or sense in it. 
Well, and, by the way, of course the rotten West 
catches it also. A pretty preachment, as you can 
imagine! it beats us at every point, that West— 
but it *s rotten 1 And even if we did really despise 
it," continued Potugin:—" nevertheless, all that 
is mere phrase-making and lies. We certainly dp 
revile it, but its opinion is the only one we value 
—that is to say, the opinion of Parisian cox- 
combs. I have an acquaintance, and a very nice 
sort of man he is, apparently, the father of a 
family, and no longer young; and that man was 
in a state of depression for several days because 
he had ordered une portion de biftek aux pommes 
de terrej while a real Frenchman immediately 
shouted out: 'Garfonl biftek pommeal' My friend 
was consumed with shame! And afterward he 

48 



SMOKE 

shouted everywhere: ^ Biftek pommeal^ and 
taught others. The very courtesans are as- 
tounded at the devout tremor wherewith our 
young fellows from the steppes enter their igno- 
minious drawing-rooms. . . ' Good heavens 1 ' 
they say to themselves, * am I really here? At 
Annah Deslions! ' " 

** Please tell me," inquired Litvinoff, " to what 

! do you ascribe the indubitable influence of Guba- 

/ ry6fi^ on all the people around him? Not to his 

/ gifts or to his capacities? " 

" No, sir; no, sir; he has nothing of that sort. . •" 
" To his character, then? " 

j *^ He has not that either, but he has a great deal 
of will, sir. We Slavonians in general, as is well 
known, are not rich in that attribute, and we give 
up in presence of it. Mr. Gubaryoff desired to 
be a leader, and every one has recognised him as 
a leader. What would you have done about it? 
The government has released us from serfdom, 
and we thank it; but the habits of serfdom have 
taken too profound a root in us ; we shall not soon 
rid ourselves of them. In everything and every- 
where we want a master; this master, in the ma- 
jority of cases, is a vivacious individual; some- 
times some so-called tendency acquires a power 
over us • . • now, for example, we have all bound 
ourselves as slaves to the natural sciences. . • 
Why, by virtue of what reasons, we enroll our- 
selves as slaves, is an obscure matter; evidently 

44 



SMOKE 

such is our nature. But the principal point is 
that we should possess a master. Well, and there 
we have him; that means he is ours, and we don't 
care a copper about the restl Purely bondmen! 
Both the pride of the bondman and the humilia- 
tion of the bondman. A new master has come 
into existence — away with the old one I The other 
was named Ydkoff, this one is called Sidor; give 
Yakoff a box on the ears, fall at the feet of Sidor I 
Recollect how many tricks of that sort have taken 
place among us I We prattle about renunciation 
as our distinguishing characteristic; but we do not 
exercise renunciation like a free man who smites 
with his sword, but like a lackey, who administers 
a thrashing with his fist, and, what is more, admin- 
isters a thrashing at his master's behest. WeU, 
sir, and we are also a soft race; it is not difficult 
to keep a tight hand over us. And that 's the way 
Mr. Gubary6ff has come to be a master; he ham- 
mered and hammered away at one point until he 
attained his object. People perceive that a man 
has a great opinion of himself, believes in himself, 
issues orders— the principal thing is to issue or- 
ders; they conclude that he is right and that he 
must be obeyed. All our sectarians, our sects 
of Onuphry and of Akulina,^ had their origin in 

* Onilifiy— the founder of the priestless sect of the Old Ritnal- 
IstBt born 1829.— AkuUna Ivtoovnm was the name of three of the 
so-called Birthgivers of God (Madonnas) in the Scourgers* and 
Skdptsy sects. Hence, one heresy received from them the appell** 
tion of " AkuifnoTshtchina.** — ^Tsaxslatob. 

45 



SMOKE 

precisely this manner. He who has seized the 
staff is the commander." 

Potugin's cheeks had flushed crimson and his 

eyes had grown dim; but, strange to say, his 

speech, bitter and even malicious though it was, 

did not smack of gall, but rather of sadness, and 

[ upright, genuine sadness at that. 

" How did you become acquainted with Guba- 
ry6fi^? " inquired Litvmoff. 

" I have known him for a long time, sir. And 
observe another queer thing about us: a man — 
for instance, an author possibly— has been revil- 
ing drunkenness all his life, in verse and in prose, 
and upbraiding . . . and, all of a sudden, he takes 
and buys two distilleries himself and leases a hun- 
dred dram-shops— and it's nothing! People 
would wipe another man off the face of the earth, 
but they do not even reproach him. Now there 's 
I Mr. Gubary6ff : he *s a Slavophil, and a demo- 
I crat, and a socialist, and an3rthing else you like, 
f but his estate always has been managed and is still 
^ managed by his brother, a master of the ancient 
I type, one of the sort who were called * Danteists.* 
And that same Madame Sukhdntchikoff, who 
represents Mrs. Beecher Stowe as slapping Ten- 
tel6eff's face, almost crawls before Gubaryoff. 
But, you know, the only thing about him is that 
he reads clever books and is forever trying to get 
down into the depths. As to his gift of language, 
you have been able to judge for yourself to-day; 

46 



SMOKE 

and ihank God, too, that he says but little, and 
only writhes all the time. Because, when he it 
in the mood and lets himself go freely, then it is 
more than even I, a long-suffering man, can tol- 
erate. He begins to banter and to narrate filthy 
1 anecdotes,— yes, yes, oiu* great Mr. 6ubary6ff 
i narrates filthy anecdotes and laughs so abomina- 
^ bly the while . . . ." 

" Are you really so long-suffering? " said LiV- 
vinoff.— " I should have supposed the contrary. 
. • • But permit me to inquire, what is your name 
and your patronymic? " 

Potugin sipped a little of the cherry cordiaL 

" My name is Sozont . . Sozont Ivanitch. . 
They gave me that very beautiful name in honour 
of a relative, an Archimandrite, to whom I am 
indebted for this alone. I am of the ecclesiastical 
race, if I may be allowed to express myself thus. 
And you make a mistake in doubting that I am 
patient: I am patient. I served for two and 
twenty years under my uncle, actual state coun- 
cillor Irindrkh Potugin. You did not know 
him?" 

"No." 

" I congratulate you on that. No, I am pa- 
tient. But ' let us return to the first point,' as 
my colleague, the burnt-alive Archpriest Avdk- 
kum ^ was accustomed to say. I am amazed, my 

^ Av^kum Petrtfvitch, an ardent preacher of the doctrines of the 
Old Ritualists, who refused to accept the corrections (typo- 
graphical and other) made in the Scriptures and Church Service 



SMOKE 

3ear sir, at my fellow-countrymen. THey are all 
low-spirited, they all go about in a dejected way, 
and, at the same time, they are all filled with hope, 
and at the slightest excuse they fairly go mad. 
Now take the Slavophils, among whom Mr. 
Gubaryoff reckons himself: they are very fine 
people, but there 's the same mixture of despair 
and irritation, and they also live in the future. 
It 's all coming, it *s coming, they say. There 's 
nothing in hand at the present moment, and Rus- 
sia, in the course of ten whole centuries, has never 
worked out a single thing of her own, neither in 
government, nor in courts of justice, nor in sci- 
ence, nor in art, nor even in the handicrafts. . . 
But wait; have patience: everything will come. 
And why will it come, allow me to inquire? 
Because, forsooth, we are cultured people,— 
—stuff and nonsense; but the people . . oh, it 's 
a grand people! Do you see that peasant coat? 
that 's what all will proceed from. All the 
other idols have been smashed; but let us have 
faith in the peasant coat. Well, and what 
if the peasant coat betrays you? No, it will not 
betray; read Madame Kokhanovsky,* and roll 
your eyes up to the ceiling! Really, if I were an 

books in the rdgn of Peter the Great's father. AvAkkum was 
forced to become a monk, banished to Siberia, brought back to 
Moscow, imprisoned, and eventually banished again to Pust6zersk, 
ArUiangd Government. For his persistent heretical propaganda 
be and his companions were burned alive in l681.--TRAK8LAToa. 

^Nad^ihda Step^ovna Sokh^sky (1835-1884), who wrote un- 
der the name of ** Kokhandvsky.**— Tianslatom. 

49 



SMOKE 

artist this is the sort of a picture I would paint: 
a cultivated man is standing in front of a peasant 
and bowing low to him: * Heal me, my dear peas- 
ant, says he, ' I am perishing with disease ' ; but 
the peasant, in his turn, bows low before the edu- 
cated man, * Please teach me, dear master,' says 
he, * I am perishing with ignorance/ Well, and 
of course both of them stick right where they are. 
But all that is needed is really to become humble, 
—not in words alone,— and adopt from our elder 
brothers that which they have invented— better 
than we and earlier than we I Waiter, another 
glass of cherry cordial! You must not think that 
I am a drunkard, but alcohol loosens my tongue/' 
" After what you have just said," observed Lit- 
vmoff, with a smile,—" it is not worth while for 
me to ask to what party you belong and what 
opinion you hold concerning Europe. But per- 
mit me to make one remark. Here you say that 
we ought to borrow, to adopt from our elder 
brothers; but how can we adopt without taking 
into consideration the conditions of climate and 
soil, with local and national peculiarities? I re- 
member that my father ordered from Butenop's 
foundry a splendidly recommended winnowing- 
machine; the winnowing-machine really was very 
good. But what happened? For five whole years 
it stood in the shed utterly useless, until it was re- 
placed by a wooden American machine,— which 
was much better suited to our manner of life and 

49 



SMOKE 

to our habits, as American machines are, in gen- 
eral. It is impossible to adopt things at hap- 
hazard, Soz6nt Iv&nitch." 

Potugin raised his head a little. 
" I did not expect that sort of retort from you, 
most respected Grigory Mikhaflitch," he be- 
gan, after a brief pause.—" And who forces you 
I to adopt at haphazard? Surely you take a for- 
eign thing not because it is foreign, but because 
{ you find it suitable: consequently, you do take the 
circumstances into consideration, you do make a 
selection. And so far as the results are concerned, 
pray do not disturb yourself: they will be orig- 
inal by virtue of precisely those local, climatic and 
other conditions to which you allude. All you 
have to do is to ofi^er good food, and the natural 
stomach will digest it after its own fashion; and, 
;! in course of time, when the organism shall have 
'gained strength, it will yield its own sap. Just 
I take our language as an example. Peter the 
I Great deluged it with thousands of foreign words 
—Dutch, French, and German: those words ex- 
pressed conceptions with which it was necessary 
to make the Russian nation acquainted; without 
philosophising, and without standing on cere*- 
mony, Peter poured those words wholesale, by 
the bucketful, by the cask, into our bosom. At 
first, it is true, the result was something mon- 
strous, but later on— precisely that digestive pro- 
cess set in which I have mentioned to you. The 

50 



SMOKE 

conceptions became grafted on and appropriated ; 
the foreign forms gradually evaporated; the lan- 
guage found in its own bosom the wherewithal to 
replace them— and now, your humble servant, a 
very mediocre master of style, will undertake to 
translate any page you please from Hegel,— yes, 
sir; yes, sir; from Hegel,— without making use 
of a single non-Slavonic word. That which has* 
taken place with the language will, it is to be 
hoped, take place in other spheres. The whole 
question lies here— is nature strong? But our na- 
ture is all right ; it will stand the strain : that 's not 
where the great difficulty lies. Only nervous in- 
valids and weak nations can fear for their health, 
for their independence; and just so, only idle 
people are capable of going into raptures until 
they foam at the mouth, because, forsooth, we are 
Russians, say they. I am very solicitous about 
my health, but I don't go into raptures over it: 
I 'm ashamed to, sir." 

" All that is true, Sozont Ivdnitch," began Lit- 
vinoff in his turn:—" but why must we, inevita- 
bly, be subjected to such tests? You say yourself 
that the first result was something monstrous I 
Well— and what if that monstrous thing had re- 
mained monstrous? And it has remained so; you 
know it has." 

" But not in the language— and that means a 
great deal! But I did not make our nation; I 
am not to blame if it is fated to pass through such 

HI 



SMOKE 

a school. ' The Germans were developed regu- 
larly,' cry the Slavophils: * give us regular devel- 
opment also I ' But where is one to get it when 
the very first historical action of our tribe— sum- 
moning to themselves princes from over-sea— is 
an irregularity to start with, an anomaly which 
is repeated in every one of us, down to the present 
day ; every one of us, at least once in his Uf e, has 
infaUibly said to something foreign, non-Russian: 
* Come, exercise authority and reign over me! '— 
I am ready, if you like, to admit that, when we 
introduce a foreign substance into our own body, 
we cannot, by any means, know with certainty 
beforehand what it is we are introducing: a bit of 
bread or a bit of poison; for, assuredly, it is a 
familiar fact that you never pass from bad to 
good through better, but always through worse— 
and poison is useful in medicine. Only dolts or 
sharpers can decently point with triumph at the 
poverty of the peasants after the Emancipation, 
at their increased drunkenness after the abroga- 
tion of the liquor monopoly. . . . Through worse 
to goodi " 

Potugin passed his hand over his face. 

" You asked me my opinion concerning Eu- 
rope," he began again:—" I am amazed at it and 
devoted to its principles to the last degree, and 
do not consider it necessary to conceal the fact. 
For a long time . . no, not for a long time . . 
for some time past I have ceased to be afraid to 

52 













r 



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ves 



reto^ 
rema^ 
unhapi 
Crimem 
military* 
am not a; 
pertains tH 
with a trag^ 
in a rosy li^ 
ticular, with, 
our human e& 
is repulsive, it . 
knavery, percha 
my dear Grigor 
humble and mori 
the errors of his tei 



i»''':^KV' 



^"^-^^ti^.^^^ 









let fU^", 



*«!»*'!, 0<* 













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>^^^>r;e-!^:>^5 



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<v<^' 









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ovVt^^cAtvV 



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SMOKE 

'^ I love it pasaionately, and I hate it passion- 
ately/' 

Litvfnoff shrugged his shoulders. 

(" That 's old, Soz6nt Ivdnitch, that 's a com- 
monplace." 
I " Well, what of that? What 's the harm? A 
pretty thing to take fri^t at!— A commonplace! 
I know many fine commonplaces ! Here now, for 
example: liberty and order— that's a familiar 
commonplace. Is it better, in your opinion, to 
have, as with us, servility and disorder? And, 
moreover, are all those phrases wherewith so many 
young heads become intoxicated: the despised 
bourgeoisie, souverainetS du peuple, the right to 
labor,— are not they also commonplaces? And 
how about love, inseparable from hatred? . ." 

" Byronism," interrupted Litvinofi^ : — " ro- 
manticism of the '80's." 

" You are mistaken, excuse me; Catullus, the 
Roman poet Catullus, was the first to point out 
that blending of sentiments, two thousand years 
ago.^ I learned that by reading him, because 
j I know something of Latin, in consequence of my 
I ecclesiastical extraction, if I may venture so to 
i express myself. Yes, sir, I both love and hate my 
Russia, my strange, dear, dreadful, beloved fa- 
therland. Now I have abandoned it; I had to 
air myself a bit, after sitting for twelve years at 

lOdi et amo. Quare id faciam, fortasse, requiris? 
Nescio: sed fieri sentio et excnidor. 

CatuUus, LXXXVI. 

54 



SMOKE 

a government desk, in a government building; I 
have abandoned Russia, and I find it agreeable 
and jolly here; but I shall soon return, I feel it. 
Garden soil is good— but cloudberries will not 
grow on it! '* 

'' You find it pleasant and jolly, and I am at 
ease here," said Litvinoif .— " And I came hither 
to study; but that does not prevent my seeing 
such little pranks as that. . ." He pointed to two 
passing courtesans, around whom several mem- 
bers of the Jockey Club were grimacing and lisp- 
ing, and at the gambling-hall, which was packed 
full, in spite of the late hour. 

" But who told you that I was blind to that? " 
retorted Potiigin.— " Only, pardon me, but your 
remark reminds me of the triumphant way our 
unhappy journalists had of pointing, during the 
Crimean campaign, to the defects of the English 
military administration, revealed in the Times. I 
am not an optimist myself, and everything that 
pertains to man, all oiu* life, that entire comedy 
with a tragic ending, does not present itself to me 
in a rosy light; but why tax the Occident, in par- 
ticular, with that which, possibly, has its root in 
our human essence itself? That gambling-house 
is repulsive, it is true; well, but is our home-bred 
knavery, perchance, any the more beautiful? No, 
my dear Grigory Mikhaflovitch, let us be more 
I humble and more quiet; a good pupil perceives 
j the errors of his teacher, but he respectfully holds 



SMOKE 

Ills peace aliout tfiem; for those very errors are 
of service to him, and direct him in the right way. 
But if you insist upon gossiping about the rotten 
West, here comes Prince Koko at a jog-trot; he 
has, probably, dropped at the gaming-table in a 
quarter of an hour the toil-won, extorted quit- 
rents of a hundred and fifty families, his nerves 
are unstrung, and, moreover, I saw him to-day at 
Marks's, turning over the pages of Veuillot's 
pamphlet. . He '11 be a capital companion for 
youl" 

" But pardon me, pardon me," said Litvfnoff 
hastily, perceiving that Potiigin was rising from 
his seat.—" My acquaintance with Prince Koko 
is very slight, and then, of course, I prefer con- 
versation with you. . .** 

" I am greatly indebted to you,** said Potiigin, 
rising and bowing his farewell;— " but I have 
been conversing with you a pretty long time as it 
is— that is, strictly speaking, I have been doing all 
the talking myself, while you, probably, have ob- 
served from your own experience that a man al- 
ways feels conscience-stricken somehow and un- 
comfortable when he has been talking a great deal 
—all alone. Especially so when it happens at a 
first meeting: as much as to say, ' Look at me, 
that *s the sort of man I am ! ' Farewell until our 
next pleasant meeting. . . And I, I repeat it, 
am very glad at having made your acquaintance." 
I " But wait a bit, Sozont Ivdnitch; tell me, at 

56 



<( 



" 



SMOKE 

least, where you are living, and whether you in- 
tend to remain here long." 

Potugin seemed to wince a little. 

'' I shall remain about a week longer in Baden, 
but we can meet each other here, or at Weber's, 
or at Marks's. Or I will go to you." 

" Nevertheless, I must know your address." 
Yes. But this is the point: I am not alone." 
You are married? " asked Litvinoff abruptly. 
Grood gracious, no. • • Why talk so ab- 
surdly? . . But I have a young girl with me." 

" Ah! " ejaculated Litvfnoff, with a shrug, as 
though apologising, and dropped his eyes. 

" She is only six years old," went on Potugin. 
\ — " She is an orphan, . . the daughter of a lady 
. . of one of my good friends. Really, we had 
better meet here. Good-bye, sir." 

He pulled his hat down over his curly head and 
walked rapidly away, appearing for an instant 
a couple of times under the gas-jets, which cast 
a rather scanty light upon the road which led to 
Lichtenthal Avenue. 



57 



SMOKE 

and this malady was caused by nialevolent per- 
sons; but the cause of it was Nikanor himself, for 
he had not fulfilled his promise to a certain 
maiden, hence she, through these persons, had ren- 
dered him unfit for anything, and if I had not 
been his helper, under these circumstances he must 
have perished utterly, like a cabbage-worm ; but I, 
trusting in the All-seeing Eye, constituted my- 
self his prop in life; and how I accomplished this 
is a secret; and I request Your Well-Bom that 
henceforth that maiden may not occupy herself 
with those evil attributes, and it would even do no 
harm to threaten her, otherwise she may exercise 
a maleficent influence over him again." Litvinoff 
fell into thought over this document; it exhaled 
upon him a breath of the wilds of the steppe, the 
impassive gloom of stagnating life, and it seemed 
marvellous to him that he should have read that 
letter precisely in Baden. In the meantime, mid- 
night had long since struck; Litvinofi* went to 
bed and blew out his candle. But he could not 
get to sleep; the faces he had seen, the speeches 
he had heard, kept whirling and circling, 
strangely interweaving and mixing themselves in 
his burning head, which was aching with the 
tobacco-smoke. Now he seemed to hear Gu- 
bary6ff's bellow, and his downcast eyes, with 
their stupid, obstinate gaze, presented them- 
selves; then, all of a sudden, those same eyes 
began to blaze and leap, and he recognised 

60 



SMOKE 

Madame Sukhantchikoff , heard her sharp voice, 
and, involuntarily, in a whisper, repeated after 
her: "She did slap his face, she did!" then 
the shambling figure of Potiigin moved for- 
ward before him, and for the tenth, the twentieth 
time, he recalled his every word; then, like a pup- 
pet from a snuff-box, Voroshfloff sprang for- 
ward in his brand-new paletot, which fitted him 
like a new uniform, and Pishtchalkin wisely and 
gravely nodded his capitally-barbered and really 
well-intentioned head; and Bindasoff bawled and 
reviled, and Bambaeff went into tearful raptures. 
. . . But the chief thing was: that perfume, that 
importunate, insistent, sweet, heavy perfume, 
gave him no rest, and was exhaled with ever- 
increasing power in the darkness, and ever more 
: persistently reminded him of something which he 
■j vainly endeavoured to grasp. • . It occurred to 
Litvinoff that the odour of flowers was injurious 
to the health at night in a bed-chamber, and he 
rose, felt his way to the bouquet, and carried it 
out into the adjoining room; but the insufferable 
fragrance penetrated to his pillow, under his cov- 
erlet, even from that point, and he tossed sadly 
from side to side. Fever was beginning to lay 
hold upon him; the priest, " the expert in deal- 
ing with spells," had already twice run across 
his path in the shape of a very nimble hare with 
a beard, and Voroshfloff, squatting in a Gen- 
eraVs plume, as in a bush, was beginning to trill 

61 



SMOKE 

like a nightingale before him . . . when, all 

of a sudden, he sat up in bed, and clasping his 
/hands, exclaimed: '" Is it possible that it is she? 
I It cannot be!" 

But in order to explain this exclamation of Lit- 

vfnoiT, we must ask the indulgent reader to go 

back several years with us. 



82 



VII 

At the beginning of the '50*s there resided in 
Moscow, in very straitened circumstances, ahnost 
in poverty, the numerous family of the Princes 
Osfnin. They were genuine, not Tatdr-Grcor- \J 
gian, but pure-blooded princes, descendants of 
Riirik; their name is frequently met with in our 
Chronicles under the first Grand Princes of Mos- 
cow, the collectors of the Russian land; they pos- 
sessed extensive patrimonial estates and domains, 
had been repeatedly rewarded for "toils, and 
blood, and wounds," had sat in the Council of the 
boyars; one of them even wrote his name with 
" vitch " ; * but had fallen into disgrace through 
the conspiracy of enemies for " witchcraft and 
knowledge of roots " ; they were ruined " terribly 
and completely" ; they were deprived of their hon- 
ours, and banished to parts remote; the Osinins 
crumbled away, and never recovered themselves, 
never again attained to power; the decree of ban- 
ishment was removed from them, in course of 
time, and their " Moscow homestead " and their 
" chattels " were even restored to them, but noth- 
ing was of any avail. Their race had become im- 

iFormerly^ a sign of blood-royaL — ^Teakslatob, 

68 



SMOKE 

poverished, had " withered away "—it did not rise 
either under Peter or under Katherine, and be- 
coming constantly more insignificant and re- 
duced, it counted among its members private 
stewards, managers of liquor counting-houses, 
and police-captains. The family of the Osinins 
to which we have alluded consisted of husband, 
wife and five children. They lived near the Dogs* 
Square, in a tiny, one-story wooden house, with a 
striped principal porch opening on the street, 
green lions on the gates, and other devices apper- 
taining to the nobUity, and barely made the two 
ends meet, running into debt at the greengrocer's 
shop, and frequently going without fuel and 
lights in winter. The Prince himself was an in- 
dolent, rather stupid man, who had, once upon a 
time, been a handsome man and a dandy, but had 
utterly gone to pieces ; not so much out of respect 
for his name, as out of courtesy to his wife, who 
had been a Maid of Honour at Court, he had 
been given one of the ancient Moscow posts with 
a small salary, a difficult title, and no work what- 
ever; he never meddled with anything, and did 
nothing but smoke from morning till night, never 
abandoning his dressing-gown, and sighing heav- 
ily. His wife was a sickly and peevish woman, 
perpetually worried over domestic troubles, with 
getting her children placed in government insti- 
tutions for education, and with keeping up her 
connections in St. Petersburg; she never could 

64 



SMOKE 

get reconciled to her position and expatriation 
from the Court. 

Litvinoff's father, during his sojourn in Mos- 
cow, had made the acquaintance of the Osmins, 
had had an opportunity to render them several 
services, had once lent them three hundred rubles; 
and his son, in his student days, had frequently 
called to inquire after their health, as his lodgings 
chanced to be situated not very far from their 
house. But it was not the close vicinity which at- 
tracted him, neither did the wretched comforts of 
their mode of life allure him: he began to visit 
the Osinins frequently from the moment when he 
fell in love with their eldest daughter, Irina. 

At that time she had just passed her seven- 
teenth birthday; she had just left the Institute, 
from which her mother had taken her, on account 
of a quarrel with the directress. The quarrel had 
arisen from the circumstance that Irina was to 
have delivered the verses of greeting to the Cura- 
tor at the commencement in the French language, 
and just before the ceremony another girl, the 
daughter of a very wealthy government monopo- 
list, had been substituted for her. The Princess- 
mother could not digest this affront; and Irina 
herself could not forgive the directress for her 
injustice; she had been dreaming in advance how, 
in the sight of every one, attracting universal at- 
tention, she would declaim her speech, and how 
Moscow would talk about her afterward. . . And, 

65 



SMOKE 

in fact, Moscow probably would have talked about 
Irina. She was a tall, slender girl, with a some- 
what sunken chest and narrow, youthful shoul- 
ders, with a palely-opaque skin rare at her age, as 
pure and smooth as porcelain, and thick, blond 
hair, wherein dark locks were intermingled with 
the blond ones in an original manner. Her fea- 
tures, elegantly, almost exquisitely regular, had 
not yet lost that innocent expression which is pe- 
culiar to early youth; but in the slow inclinations 
of her beautiful neck, in her smile, which, not ex- 
actly abstracted, nor yet exactly languid, denoted 
the nervous young gentlewoman, and in the very 
outline of those thin, barely smiling lips, of that 
small, aquiline, somewhat compressed nose, there 
was something wilful and passionate, something 
dangerous both for others and for herself. Her 
eyes were astounding, truly astounding, of a 
blackish-grey, with green lights, languishing, 
long as those of Egyptian divinities, with radiant 
eyelashes, and a bold sweep of eyebrows. There 
was a strange expression in those eyes: they 
seemed to be gazing, gazing attentively and 
thoughtf uUy, from out of some unknown depths 
and distance. In the Institute Irina had borne the 
reputation of being one of the best scholars as to 
mind and capacities, but with an unstable, am- 
bitious character, and a mischievous head; one of 
the teachers had predicted to her that her passions 
would ruin her— ''Fos passions vous perdront ^*j 

66 



SMOKE 

on the other hand, another teacher had persecuted 
her because of her coldness and lack of feeling, 

ji and called her ''une jetme fiUe sans cosw!* 
Irlna's companions thought her proud and deceit- 
ful, her brothers and sisters were afraid of her, her 
mother did not trust her, and her father felt un- 
easy when she fixed her mysterious eyes upon him ; 
but she inspired both father and mother with a 
sentiment of involuntary respect, not by virtue of 
her qualities, but by virtue of the peculiar, indis- 
tinct expectations which she aroused in them, Grod 

: knows why, 

" You will see, Prask6vya Danflovna," said 
the old Prince one day, taking his pipe-stem out 

. of his mouth:— "Arinka will extricate us from 

I our difficulties yet." 

The Princess flew into a rage, and told her hus- 
band that he used '' expressions insupportables/* 
but thought better of it afterward, and repeated, 
between her teeth: " Yes • • • and it would be a 
good thing if she did extricate us." 

Irina enjoyed almost unbounded freedom in 
the parental abode ; they did not pet her, they even 
held rather aloof from her, but they did not op- 
pose her: that was all she wanted. ... It some- 
times happened when there was some quite too 
humiliating scene— when a shopkeeper would 
come and yell, so that the whole house could hear 
him, that he was tired of haunting them for his 
money, or when their servants, whom they owned, 



SMOKE 

took to abusing their masters to their fi^ce, say- 
ing, " A pretty sort of princes you are, with not 
a copper in your purse to keep from starving " — 
that Irina would never move a muscle, but would 
sit motionless, with a malign smile on her gloomy 
face; and that smile alone was more bitter to her 
} parents than all reproaches, and they felt them- 
j selves guilty, innocently guilty, in the presence of 
; that being, who seemed, from her very birth, to 
have been endowed with the right to wealth, to 
' luxury, to adoration. 

Litvinoff fell in love with Irina as soon as he 
' saw her (he was only three years older than she) , 
but for a long time he could not win reciprocity 
trr even attention. Upon her treatment of him 
there lay the imprint even of a certain hostility; 
it was exactly as though he had offended her and 
she were profoundly concealing the offence, but 
were unable to forgive him. He was too young 
and modest at that time to understand what might 
be concealed beneath this hostile, almost scornful 
harshness. There were times when, oblivious of 
lectures and note-books, he would sit in the Osi- 
nins' cheerless drawing-room, — sit and stare cov- 
ertly at Irina : his heart pined slowly and bitterly 
away within him and oppressed his breast; but 
she, as though she were angry or bored, would 
rise, pace up and down the room, gaze coldly at 
him, as at a table or a chair^ shrug her shoulders, 
and fold her arms; or, during the whole course of 



SMOKE 

the evening, she would deliberately refrain trom 
glancing at Litvinoff a single time, even when 
talking with him, as though refusing him even 
that alms; or, in conclusion, she would take up a 
book and rivet her eyes upon it, without reading, 
frown and bite her lips, or would suddenly inquire 
of her father or brother: what was the Grerman 
word for patience? 

He tried to tear himself away from the 
enchanted circle, in which he incessantly suf* 
fered torment and struggled, like a bird which 
has fallen into a trap; he absented himself from 
Moscow for a week. After nearly losing his mind 
with grief and irksomeness, he returned to tiie 
Osinins, all haggard and iU. . . And, strange to 
say, Irina also had grown emaciated during those 
days, her face had turned yellow, her cheeks, were 
I sunken; • . . but she greeted him with greater 
I coldness than ever, with almost malevolent scorn, 
i as though he had still further aggravated that 
\ mysterious grievance which he had dealt her. • • 
She tortured him in this manner for two 
months; then one day everything underwent a 
i change. It was as though she had broken out in 
conflagration, as though love had swooped down 
upon her like a thunder-cloud. One day— he long 
remembered that day— he was again sitting in liie 
Osinins' drawing-room, at the window, and irrele- 
vantly staring into the street, and he was feeling 
vexed and bored and despised himself, and yet he 

60. 



SMOKB 

could not stir f n»n the spot. • . It seemed to him as 
though, if a river were flowing just there, beneath 
the window, he would hurl her into it with terror, 
but without compunction. Irlna had placed her- 
self not far from him, maintained a rather singu- 
lar silence, and remained motionless. For several 
days past she had not spoken to him at all, and 
indeed she had not spoken to any one; she sat on 
and on, propped up on her arms, as though she 
found herself perplexed, and only from time to 
time did she cast a slow glance around her. 

This cold torment became, at last, more than 
Litvfnoff could endure ; he rose, and, without tak- 
I ing leave, began to look for his hat. '' Wait," a 
; soft whisper suddenly made itself heard. Lit- 
j vfnoff 's heart quivered ; he did not at once recog- 
■ nise Irfna's voice: something unprecedented re- 
sounded in that single word. He raised his head 
and stood petrified: Irfna was gazing at him 
affectionately— yes, affectionately. Compre- 
hending notliing, not fully conscious of what 
he was doing, he approached her and stretched 
out his hands. . . She immediately gave him 
both of hers, then smiled, flushed all over, 
turned away, and without ceasing to smile, she 
left the room. ... A few minutes later she 
returned in company with her younger sister, 
again looked at him with the same gentle glance, 
and made him sit down beside her. . . At first 
9be could say nothing: she merely sighed and 

70 



SMOKE 

blushed; then she began, as though ovefcome with 
timidity, to question him ccmceming his oecupa^ 
tions, something which she had never done before. 
On the evening of that same day she several times 
endeavoured to excuse herself to him for not hav- 
ing known how to appreciate him up to that mo- 
ment, assured him that she had now become an 
entirely different person, amazed him by an un- 
expected republican sally (at that time he wor- 
shipped Robespierre, and dared not condemn 
Marat aloud), but a week later he had already 
discovered that she had fallen in love with him. 
Yes; he long remembered that first day; . • • but 
he did not forget the following ones, either,— 
those days when, still striving to doubt, and 
afraid to believe, he clearly perceived, with 
tremors of rapture, almost of terror, how this 
unexpected happiness was engendered, grew and, 
irresistibly sweeping everything before it, at last 
fairly submerged him. 

The luminous moments of first love ensued— 
moments which are not fated to be, and shoukl 
not be, repeated in one and the same life. Irina 
suddenly became as tame as a lamb, as soft as silk, 
> and infinitely kind; she undertook to give lessons 
to her younger sisters,— not on the piano,— she 
was not a musician,— but in the French and 
English languages; she read with them from their 
text-books, she took part in the housekeeping; 
everything amused her, everything interested her; 

71 



SMOKE 

nbw she chattered incessantly, again she became 
immersed in dmnb emotion; she concocted various 
plans, she entered into interminable speculations 
as to what she would do when she married Litri- 
noff (they had not the slightest doubt that their 
marriage would take place) , what they would do 
together. . . " Work? " suggested Litvinoff. . 
" Yes, work," repeated Irina: " read . . . but, 
, principaUy, travel." She was particularly desir- 
ous of quitting Moscow as speedily as possible, 
and when Litvinoff represented to her that he had 
hot yet completed his course in the university, 
on each such occasion, after meditating a little, 
she replied that he might finish his studies in Ber- 
Kti, or . . . somewhere there. Irina put little 
constraint upon herself in the expression of her 
feelings, and, therefore, her affection for Litvi- 
noff did not long remain a secret to the Prince 
and Princess. They were not precisely delighted, 
but, taking all the circumstances into considera- 
tion, they did not consider it necessary to impose 
their veto immediately. Litvinoff 's property was 

ronsiderable " But family, family! . . ." 

remarked the Princess. " Well, of course, fam- 
ily," replied the Prince; " but, at all events, he 's 
not a plebeian, and that's the chief thing; for 
Irina will not listen to us. Was there ever a case 
idien she did not do as she pleased? Vous con- 
naissez sa violencel Moreover, there's nothing 
definite as yet." Thus reasoned the Prince, and 



SMOKE 

yet, on the instant, added mentally: '' Madame 
Litvinoff — nothing more ? I expected something 
else." 

Irina took complete possession of her future 
betrothed, and he himself willingly gave him* 
self into her hands. He seemed to have fallen 
into a whirlpool, to have lost himself. . • And he 
found it painful and sweet, and he regretted noth- 
ing and kept back nothing. He could not make 
up his mind to reflect upon the significance, the 
duties of wedlock, or whether he, so irrevocably 
submissive, would make a good husband, and what 
sort of a wife Irina would turn out to be ; his blood 
was on fire and he knew one thing only: to go 
after her, with her, onward and without end, and 
then let that happen which might I But, despite 
the absence of all opposition on the part of Litvi- 
noflF to the superabundance of impulsive tender- 
ness on the part of Irina, matters did not progress 
without several misunderstandings and clashes. 
One day he ran in to see her straight from the 
university, in his old coat, with his hands stained 
with ink. She rushed to meet him with her cus- 
tomary aflfectionate greeting, and suddenly came 
to a halt: 

" You have no gloves," she said slowly, with 
pauses, and instantly added:— "Fie I what a . . . 
student . . . you arel " 

" You are too impressionable, Irina," remarked 
Litvinoff. 

78 



SMOKE 

"You are . • a regular student," she repeated: 
—'' Vous n* Stes pas distinguS" 

And turning her back on him, she left the room- 
It is true that, an hour later, she entreated him to 
forgive her. . . On the whole, she willingly pun- 
ished herself and asked his pardon; only, strange 
to say, she often, almost with tears, accused her- 
self of bad motives which she did not have, and 
obstinately denied her real defects. On another 
occasion he found her in tears, with her head rest- 
ing on her hands, and her hair falling unbound; 
and when, thoroughly disquieted, he questioned 
her as to the cause of her grief, she silently pointed 
her finger at her breast. Litvfnoff involuntarily 
shuddered. *' Consumption ! " flashed through his 
mind, and he seized her hand. 

" Art thou ill? " he ejaculated with a quivering 
vmoe (they had already begun, in important cases, 
to call each other " thou ").— " If so, I will go at 
once for the doctor . . ." 

But Irfna did not allow him to finish, and 
stamped her little foot with impatience. 

" I am perfectly well . . but it is this gown 
• . • don't you understand? " 

" What do you mean? . . this gown . . •" he 
ejaculated in surprise. 

"What do I mean? Why, that I have no 
other, and that it is old, horrid, and that I 
am compelled to put on this gown every day . . 
even when thou . . even when you come. . It 

^7* 



1 



SMOKE 

will end in thy ceasing to love me, if thou seest 
me so slovenly." 

" Good heavens, Irina, what art thou saying? 
Why, this gown is very pretty. • . And it is dear 
to me, moreover, because I saw thee in it for the 
first time." 

Irina blushed. 

" Please do not remind me, Grigory Mikha- 
flovitch, that even then I had no other gown." 

"But I assure you, Irfna Pavlovna, it is 
charmingly becoming to you." 

" No, it 's horrid, horrid," she repeated, tug- 
ging nervously at her long, soft curls.—" Okh, 
this poverty, poverty, obscurity! How can I rid 
myself of this poverty? How get out, get out of 
the obscurity? " 

Litvinoff did not know what to say, and 
slightly turned away. 

Suddenly Irfna sprang up from her chair and 
laid both her hands on his shoulders. 

" But, surely, thou lovest me? Thou lovest 
me? " she cried, approaching her face to his, and 
her eyes, still filled with tears, beamed with the 
joy of happiness.—" Thou lovest me even in this 
horrid gown?" 

Litvinoff flung himself on his knees before her. 

" Akh, love me, love me, my dear one, my 
saviour," she whispered, bending down to him. 

Thus the days rushed on, the weeks elapsed, and 
although no formal explanation had as yet taken 

7S. 



SMOKE 

place, although Litvinoff still delayed hit 
mandy not, of course, by his own wish, bi 
expectation of a conunand from Irina (she 
happened one day to remark, " We are both i 
ulously young; we must add a few weeks 
j to our age ") , yet everything was moving on 
*i to a conclusion, and the immediate future wfi 
; coming more and more clearly defined, when 
j denly an event occurred which scattered all 
I surmises and plans like the light dust of the 1 
■ way. 



76 



VIII 

That winter the Court visited Moscow. One fes- 
tival followed another; then came the turn of the 
customary great ball in the Assembly of the No- 
bility. The news of this ball, it is true, penetrated 
even to the tiny house on the Dogs' Square, in the 
shape of an announcement in the Police News. 
The Prince was the first to take the initiative; he 
immediately decided that it was indispensable 
that they should go and take Irina, that it was 
unpardonable to miss the opportunity of seeing 
their sovereigns, that the ancient nobility were, 
in a manner, bound to do so. He insisted on his 
opinion with a peculiar warmth, which was not 
characteristic of him; the Princess agreed with 
him to a certain extent, and only sighed over the 
expense; but Irina displayed decided opposition. 
" It is imnecessary; I will not go," she replied to 
all the arguments of her parents. Her obstinacy 
assumed such proportions that the old Prince at 
last decided to ask LitvinoflF to try to persuade 
her by representing to her, among the other " rea- 
sons," that it was improper for a young girl to 
avoid society, that it was proper for her " to test 
that," that, as it was, no one ever saw her any* 

n 



SMOKE 

where. Litvfnoff undertook to present these 
"' reasons" to her. Irina gazed at him so in- 
tently and attentively that he grew confused, and 
toying with the ends of her sash, she calmly 
said: 

"You desire this?-you?" 

" Yes ... I think I do," replied Litvinoflf 
faltering.—" I agree with your father. • . And 
why should not you go • . . to look at the people 
and to show yourself?" he added, with a curt 
laugh. 

"To show myself," she slowly repeated.— 
" WeU, very good, I will ga . . Only, remember, 
it is you yourself who have willed it. ." 

" That is to say, I . . ." Litvinoff tried to 
begin. 

" It is you yourself who have willed it," she in- 
terrupted.— " And there is one more condition: 
you must promise me that you will not be present 
at that ball." 

"But why?" 

" I wish it" 

Litvfnoff flung his hands apart. 

" I submit; • . but, I must confess, I should be 
very happy to see you in all your majesty, to be 
a witness of the impression which you will infal- 
libly produce. . How proud I should be of you!" 
he added, with a sigh. 

Irina laughed. 

" All that magnificence will consist of a white 

78 



SMOKE 

frock; and as for the impression • • • well, in 
short, I will have it so." 

" Irina, you seem to be angry? *' 

Inna laughed again. 

" Oh, no! I am not angry. Only thou • • .'* 
(She fixed her eyes upon him, and it struck him 
that never before had he beheld in them such an 
expression.) "Perhaps it is necessary,*' she 
added in a low voice. 

"But, Irlna, thou lovest me?" 

" Yes, I love thee," she replied, with almost 
solemn impressiveness, and shook his hand in mas- 
culine fashion. 

During all the succeeding days Irlna sedu- 
lously occupied herself with her toilet, with her 
coiffure; on the eve of the ball she felt indis- 
posed, could not sit still in one place, fell to weep- 
ing a couple of times when she was alone: in Lit- 
vinoff 's presence she smiled in a monotonous sort 
of way . . . but treated him tenderly, as before, 
yet in an abstracted manner, and kept incessantly 
contemplating herself in the mirror. On the day 
of the ball she was extremely taciturn and pale, 
but composed. At nine o'clock in the evening 
Litvfnoff came to take a look at her. When she 
came out to him in her white tarlatan frock, with 
a spray of small blue flowers in her hair, which 
was dressed rather high, he simply cried out in 
admiration : she seemed to him beautiful and ma- 
jestic beyond her years. " Yes, she has grown 

7» 



SMOKE 

taller since morning," he said to himself; "and 
what a carriage! What a thing good blood is! " 
Irina stood before him with pendent arms, with- 
out smile or affectation, and gazed with decision, 
I almost with boldness, not at him, but at some point 
\ in the distance, straight in front of her. 

" You are like a fairy princess," uttered Litvi- 
noff at last;—" or, no: you are like the leader of 
an army before a victory. . • You have not per- 
mitted me to go to this ball,"— he continued, while 
she remained motionless, as before, and seemed 
not so much to be listening to him as to some other 
inward speech;—" but you will not refuse to ac- 
cept from me these flowers, and to carry them? " 

He gave her a bouquet of heliotropes. 

She cast a quick glance at Litvinoff , stretched 
out her hand, and suddenly grasping the tips of 
the spray which adorned her head, she said: 

" Do you wish it? Only say the word, and I 
will tear off all this and remain at home." 

Litvfnoff's heart fairly sang with joy. Irina's 
hand was already wrenching off the spray. . . 

" No, no, why should you? " he said hastily, in 
a burst of grateful and noble sentiments;—" I am 
not an egoist; why should I restrict your liberty 
. . when I know that your heart • . ." 

"Well, then, don't come near me; you will 
crush my gown," she said hastily. 

Litvfnoff was disconcerted. 

" And you will take the bouquet? " he asked. 

80 



SMOKE 

" Of course; it is very pretty, and I am very 
fond of that perfume. . Merci. . I will preserve 
it as a souvenir." 

" Of your first appearance in society," re- 
marked Litvinoff :— " of your first triumph. . ." 

Irina contemplated herself in the mirror over 
her shoulder, bending her body a little. 

" And am I really so pretty? Are not you a 
partial judge? " 

Litvinoff grew diffuse in enthusiastic praises* 
But Irina was no longer listening to him, and 
lifting the bouquet to her face, she again began 
to gaze off into the distance with her strange 
eyes, which seemed to darken and widen, and the 
ends of the delicate ribbons, set in motion by a 
li^t current of air, elevated themselves on her 
shoulders like wings. 

The Prince made his appearance with hair 
curled, in a white necktie, a shabby black dress 
suit, and with the Vladimir ribbon of the order of 
the nobility in his buttonhole; after him the Prin- 
cess appeared in a chin^ silk gown of antique cut, 
and with that grim anxiety beneath which mo- 
thers strive to conceal their agitation put her 
daughter to rights from behind— that is to say, 
she shook out the folds of her gown without 
any necessity whatever. An old-fashioned, four- 
seated hired carriage, drawn by two shaggy nags, 
crawled up to the entrance, its wheels creaking 
pver the mounds of snow whidb had not been 

81 



SMOKE 

swept away, and an infirm footman in a prepos- 
terous livery ran in from the anteroom and rather 
desperately announced that the carriage was 
ready. • . After bestowing their blessing for the 
night upon the remaining children, and donning 
fur wraps, the Prince and Princess directed their 
steps to the porch ; Irina, in a thin, short-sleeved 
cloak— how she did hate that cloak 1— followed 
them in silence. LitvfnoiF escorted them, in the 
hope of receiving a parting glance from Irina, 
but she took her seat in the carriage without turn- 
ing her head. 

About midnight he passed under the windows 
of the Assembly. The innumerable lights in the 
huge chandeliers pierced through the crimson cur- 
tains in luminous spots, and the sounds of a 
Strauss waltz were being wafted, with a haughty, 
festive challenge, all over the square encumbered 
with equipages. 

On Ihe following day, at noon, Litvinoff betook 
himself to the Osfnins. He found no one at home 
but the Prince, who immediately announced to 
him that Irina had a headache, that she was in 
bed, and would not rise until the evening, and 
' that, moreover, such an indisposition was not in 
the least surprising after a first ball. 

" C'est trh naturel, vous savez, dans lea jeunes 
fiUes/^ he added in French, which somewhat 
I amazed Litvinoff, who noticed, at the same mo- 
ment, that the Prince was not wearing his dresi^- 

82 



SMOKE 

I ing-gown as usual, but a frock-coat—" And, 
moreover," went on Osinin, " how could she help 
i falling ill after the events of last night? " 
" The events? " blurted out Litvinoff. 
" Yes, yes, the events, the events, vrais i^ine- 
' menu. You cannot imagine, 6rig6ry Mikhailo- 
) vitch, quel succis eUe a eut The entire Court 
! noticed her I Prince Alexander Feodorovitcfa 
said that her place was not here, that she re- 
minded him of the Duchess of Devcmshire • • 
well, you know . . the famous one. . • And oM 
Blazenkampf declared, in the hearing of every 
one, that Ir(na was la reine du bal, and asked to be 
presented to her; and he introduced himself to me 
—that is to say, he told me that he remembered 
me as a hussar, and inquired where I was serving 
\ now. He 's very amusing, that Count, and such 
an adorateur du beau sexe! But what am I say- 
ing? . . . And my Princess also .... they 
gave her no peace either: Natdlya Nikitishna her- 
self conversed with her . . . what more would 
you have? Irina danced avec tons les meiUeurs 
cavaliers; they kept introducing them and intro- 
ducing them to me until I lost count of 

\ them. Will you believe it, everybody thronged 

{ around us in crowds; in the mazurka they did 

1 nothing but choose her. One foreign diplomat, 

on learning that she was a native of Moscow, said 

to the Emperor: 'Sire/ said \xey—'dicid6ment 

c'est Moscou qui est le centre de voire empire! ' 

88 



SMOKE 

and another diplomat added:— ' C'est une vraie 
r&oolution. Sire *; revelation or revolution . • . . 
something of that sort. Yes . . . yes ... it 
... it ... I must tell you, it was something re- 
markable." 

"Well, and Irina Pavlovna herself? " inquired 
Litvinoif , whose feet and hands had turned csold 
during the Prince's speech:—" did she enjoy her- 
self, did she seem pleased? " 

" Of course she enjoyed herself; as if she could 
help being pleased 1 However, you know, one 
cannot make her out immediately. Every one said 
to me last night: ' How amazing 1 jamais on ne 
dirait que mademoiselle voire fille est a son pre- 
mier haV Count Reisenbadi, among the rest; 
. . . surely you must know him. . ." 

" No, I do not know him at all, and never have 
known him." 

" He 's my wife's first cousin. . .'* 

" I do not know him." 

" He 's a ridi man, a Court Chamberlain; he 
lives in Petersburg; he 's all the fashion ; he twists 
everybody in Livonia round his finger. Up to 
now he has always despised us; . . . naturally, I 
do not bear him any grudge for that. J^ai 
Vhumeur facile^ comme vous savez. Well, now 
there was he. He sat down beside Irina, con- 
versed with her for a quarter of an hour, no more, 
and then said to my Princess: ' Ma coudne* says 
he, ' voire fUe est une perle; c*est une perfection; 

84 



SMOKE 

every one is complimenting me on my niece. . . / 
I And then I saw that he went up to . . an impor- 
I tant personage, and kept staring at Irina all the 
i while . . . well, and the personage stared also. . . ." 

" And so Irina Pavlovna will not be visible all 
day? " inquired Litvfnoff again. . , 

" No; she has a very bad headache. She asked 
to be remembered to you, and that we should 
thank you for your bouquet, quon a trouvi char^ 
mant She must rest. • . My Princess has gone 
out to pay calls . • and I myself , you see . . • •" 

The Prince coughed and began to shuffle his 
feet about, as though at a loss what more to say. 
Litvinoff took his hat, said that he had no inten- 
tion of embarrassing him, and would call later to 
inquire after his health, and took his departure. 

A few paces from the Osinins' house he caught 
sight of a dandified two-seated carriage, which 
had halted in front of the police sentry-box. A 
liveried footman, also dandified, was bending 
carelessly down from the box and inquiring of the 
sentry, who was a Finn, whereabouts in the vicin- 
ity dwelt Prince Pdvel Vasflievitch Osinin. 
Litvfnofi^ glanced into the carriage: in it sat a 
middle-aged man, of sanguine complexion, with a 
frowning and haughty face, a Grecian nose, and 
evil lips, enveloped in a sable cloak,— a high dig- 
nitary, by all the signs. 



U 



IX 

LiiTiNOFF did not keep his promise to call later; 
he reflected that it would be better to defer his visit 
until the following day. When, about twelve 
o'clock, he entered the familiar drawing-room, he 
found there the two younger Princesses, Victo- 
rinka and Cleopdtrinka. He greeted them, then 
inquired: was Irina Pdvlovna feeling any better, 
and could he see her? 

'' Irfnotchka has gone out wiv mamma," re- 
plied Victorfnka; although she lisped, she was 
more vivacious than her sister. 

" What . . . she has gone out? " repeated Lit- 
vfnoff, and something shivered within him in the 
depths of his breast.— " Doesn't . . . doesn't 
. . . does n't she occupy herself with you at this 
hour— does n't she give you lessons? " 

'' Irinotchka ith n't going to give us lethonth 
any more," replied Victorfnka.—" She is n't go- 
ing to any more," Cleopdtrinka repeated after 
her. 

" And is your papa at home? " inquired Litvi- 
noff. 

" Papa ith n't at home, eiver," continued Vic- 
torfnka;—" and Irinotchka is ill: she cwied, cwied 
all night long. . •" 

vJSQL 



SMOKE 

"She cried?'' 

'* Yeth, she cwied. . • Egorovna told me, and 
her eyes are so wed, as though they were 
swol— len. . ." 

Litvinoff paced up and down the room a couple 
of times, shivering slightly, as though with cold, 
and returned to his lodgings. He experienced 
a sensation akin to that which takes possession of 
a man when he gazes down from the summit of a 
lofty tower: everything died away within him, 
and his head swam quietly and mawkishly. Dull 
surprise and a mouse-like scampering of thoughts, 
ill-defined alarm and dumb anticipation, and 
strange, almost malicious curiosity, in his com- 
pressed throat the bitterness of unshed tears, on 
his lips the effort at an empty smirk, and an en- 
treaty addressed to no one . • oh, how cruel and 
humiliatingly repulsive it all wasl '' Irina does 
not wish to see me," kept whirling incessantly 
through his brain, '* that is clear ; but why ? What 
can have taken place at that ill-starred ball? And 
how is such a change, all at once, possible? So 
suddenly. . ." (People are constantly observing 
that death comes unexpectedly, but they cannot 
possibly accustom themselves to its suddenness, 
and think it senseless.) — '' She sends me no mes- 
sage, she does not wish to come to an explanation 
with me. . . ." 

"Grigory Mikhailovitch," cried a strained voice 
in his very ear. 

St 



SMOKE 

Litvinoff started, and beheld before him his 
man with a note in his hand. He recognised 
Irina's handwriting. . . Even before he had 
broken the seal of the note he had a foreboding 
of misfortune, and bowed his head upon his breast 
and bundled up his shoulders, as though warding 
off a blow. 

At last he summoned his courage and tore off , 
the envelope with one movement. On a small 
sheet of note-paper stood the following words: 

1 "Forgive me, Grigdry Mikhaflitch. Everything is 
at an end between us. I am going to Petersburg. It 

: distresses me dreadfully, but the deed is done. Evi- 

;. dently, it is my fate; . . but no, I will not try to justify 
myself. My forebodings have been realised. Forgive 
me, forget me ; I am not' worthy of you. 

I ^* Be magnanimous: do not try to see me. 

•*IafNA.** 

Litvinoff read these five lines and sank back 
slowly on the couch, as though some one had dealt 
him a blow in the breast. He dropped the note, 
picked it up, read it again, whispered, " To Pe- 
tersburg," dropped it again, and that was all. 
Tranquillity descended upon him; he even ad- 
justed the cushion under his head with his hands, 
whidi were thrown behind him. " Those who are 
wounded unto death do not toss about," he said 
to himself;'* as it has come, so it has gone. . . All 
this is natural; I have always expected this. . ." 

88 



SMOKE 

(He lied to himself: he had never expected any* 

thing of the sort.) "Wept? She wept? .. What 

did she weep ahout? For she did not love mel 

However, it is all comprehensible and in ecmso- 

nance with her character. She, she is not worthy 

of me. . . The ideal" (He laughed bitterly.) 

I " She herself did not know what force was con- 

! cealed within her; well, but after convincing her- 

. self of its effects at the ball, how could she put 

I up with an insignificant student? ... It is all in- 

i telligible enough." 

[ But here he recalled her tender words, her 
miiles, and those eyes— those unforgettable eyes, 
which he would never see again, which both 
beamed and melted at the mere encounter iwith his 
eyes; he recalled also one swift, timid, burning 
kiss— and all of a sudden he burst out sobbing, 
and sobbed • convulsively, wildly, venomously, 
turned over on his face, and choked, and si^ed 
with fierce enjoyment, as though thirsting to rend 
himself and everything about him, thrust his in- 
flamed face into the cushion of the divan and 
bit it. . . 

/ Alasl The gentleman whom Litvfnoff had 
/ seen on the previous day in the carriage was pre- 
j cisely that first cousin of the Princess Osinin, the 
I wealthy man and Chamberlain of the Court, 
' Count Reisenbach. On perceiving the impres- 
sion which Irfna had made on persons of the high* 
est position, and instantaneously calculating what 



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advantages, '' mit etwas Accurateise/* might be 
dmved from that fact, the Count, being an ener- 
getic man and one who understood how to render 
obsequious service, immediately drew up his plan. 
He decided to act promptly, in Napoleonic f ash- 
\ ion. '' I will take that original young girl into 
^my own house," he reflected; "in Petersburg I 
c will make her my heiress, devil take it, well, of 
i| almost all my estate; I happen to have no chil- 
[ dren; she is my niece, and my Countess finds life 
tiresome alone. . . At any rate, it will be more 
agreeable when there is a pretty little face in the 
drawing-room. . . Yes, yes; that 'ssoies ist eine 
Idee, ea tat eine Ideel '' He must dazzle, confuse, 
startle her parents.—" They have nothing to eat," 
the Count pursued his meditations, as he sat in 
his carriage and was being driven to the Dogs' 
Square, " therefore, in all probability, they will 
not prove obstinate. They 're not so very sensi- 
tive. I might give them a sum of money. But 
she? And she will consent also. Honey is sweet 
. • . she got a taste of it last night It is a caprice 
of mine, let us assume ; then let them profit by it 
. • . the fools. I shall say to them: thus and so; 
come to a decision. Otherwise, I shall take some 
other girl; an orphan— which is more convenient. 
Yes or no, I give you twenty-four hours to make 
up your minds, und damit Punctum/* 

With these same words upon his lips, the Count 
presented himself before the Prince, whom he had 



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already, on the previous evening at the ball, fore- 
warned of his visit It seems not worth while to 
enter at length into the results of this visit. The 
Count had made no mistake in his calculations: 
the Prince and Princess really did not prove re- 
fractory, and accepted the sum of money, and 
Irina really did consent, without waiting for the 
1 expiration of the appointed term. It was not easy 
( for her to break her bond with Litvf noff ; she loved 
jhim, and, when she had sent him the note, she 
I almost took to her bed, wept incessantly, grew 
thin and sallow. . . But, nevertheless, a month 
later the Princess took her away to Petersburg, 
and settled her at the Count's, confiding her to 
the guardianship of the Countess, a very kind 
woman, but with the mind of a chicken and the 
exterior of a chicken. 

i But Litvmoff then abandoned the university, 
j and went off to his father in the country. Little 
I by little his wound healed. At first he heard noth- 
ing about Irfna, and he avoided talking about 
; Petersburg and Petersburg society. Then grad- 
? ually reports began to circulate about her, not evil, 
': but strange reports; rumour began to busy itself 
! with her. The name of the young Princess Osi- 
nin, surrounded with splendour, stamped with a 
special seal, came to be more and more frequently 
mentioned in provincial circles. It was uttered 
;with curiosity, with respect, with envy, as the 
name of Countess Vorotynsky had formerly been 

ft! 



SMOKE 

uttered. At last the news of her marriage was 
spread abroad. But Litvinoif paid hardly any 
attention to this last bit of news: he was already 
betrothed to Tatydna. 

And now it has probably become intelligible 
to the reader precisely what it was that recurred 
to Litvinoff, when he exclaimed: " Is it possible! " 
and therefore we will now return to Baden and 
resume the thread of our interrupted story. 



M 



It was very late when Litvinoff got to sleep, and 
he did not sleep long: the sun had only just risen 
when he rose from his bed. The summits of the 
dark hills which were visible from his windows 
were glowing with a moist crimson hue against 
the clear sky. " How fresh it must be yonder, un- 
der the trees! " he said to himself, and he hastily 
dressed himself, cast an abstracted glance at 
the bouquet, which had blossomed out even more 
luxuriantly during the night, took his cane, and 
betook himself to the well-known " Cliffs," behind 
the " Old Castle." The morning enveloped him 
in its strong and tranquil caress. He breathed 
vigorously, he moved vigorously; the health of 
youth played in his every sinew; the earth itself 
seemed to rise up to meet his light tread. With 
every step he felt more amiably disposed, more 
cheerful: he walked along in the dewy shade, over 
the coarse sand of the paths, past the pines, the 
tips of all whose twigs were rimmed with the vivid 
green of the spring shoots. " How glorious this 
isl " he kept sa}dng to himself. All at once he 
heard voices that were familiar to him : he glanced 
ahead and descried Voroshiloff and Bambieff, 

98 



SMOKE 

who were walking toward him. He fairly 
writhed: he darted aside, like a school-hoy evading 
his teacher, and hid behind a bush. . . "Oh, my Cre- 
ator 1 " he prayed, " carry my fellow-countrymen 
pastl" It seemed to him at that moment that 
he would have begrudged no amount of money, 
if only they might not catch sight of him. . . And, 
in fact, they did not catch sight of him: the Crea- 
tor bore his fellow-countrymen past. Voroshfloff , 
with his cadet-like self-complacent voice, was ex- 
plaining to Bambdeff about the various " phases " 
of Gk>thic architecture, while Bambdeff merely 
grunted approvingly ; it was evident that Voroshf- 
loif had already been overwhehning him for a 
long time with his " phases," and the good- 
natured enthusiast was beginning to be bored. 
Long did LitvinoiF, biting his lip, and craning 
his neck, listen to the retreating footsteps; long 
did cadences, now guttural, now nasal, of that in- 
structive harangue resoimd; at last all became 
silent. Litvinoff heaved a sigh of relief, emerged 
from his ambush, and pursued his way. 

For three hours he roamed about the mountains. 
Now he deserted the path, and leaped from rock 
to rock, occasionally slipping on the smooth moss; 
again he seated himself on a fragment of the 
cliff, beneath an oak or a beech, and indulged in 
pleasant thoughts, to the ceaseless murmur of the 
brooks, overgrown with ferns, the soothing rus- 
tle of the leaves, and the ringing song of a solitary 

94 



SMOKE 

blackbird; a slight drowsiness, also agreeable, 
stole upon him, seemed to embrace him from be* 
hind, and he fell asleep • • • but suddenly he 
smiled and cast a glance about him : the green and 
gold of the forest, of the forest air, beat gently 
on his sight— and again he smiled, and again he 
closed his eyes. He felt like breakfasting, and be- 
took himself in the direction of the " Old Castle," 
where, for a few kreutzers, he would be able to 
obtain a glass of good milk and coffee. But he 
had not succeeded in taking his place at one of 
the small white-painted tables, which stood on the 
platform in front of the castle, when he heard the 
laboured snorting of horses, and three calashes 
made their appearance, from which poured forth 
a rather numerous party of ladies and cavaliers 
.... Litvinoff immediately recognised them for 
Russians, although they were all talking in 
French . . because they were talking in French. 
The toilets of the ladies were distinguished 
by exquisite smartness; the cavaliers wore 
brand-new coats, but tight-fitting and with a well- 
defined waist, which is not altogether usual in our 
day, trousers of grey figured material, and very 
shiny city hats. A low, black neckcloth closely 
encircled the neck of each cavalier, and something 
military made itself felt in their whole bearing. 
As a matter of fact, they were military men ; Lit- 
vinoff had happened upon a picnic of young gen- 
erals, persons of the highest society, and of con- 



SMOKE 

i siderable importance. Their importance was an- 
i nomiced in every point: in their discreet ease of 
manner, in their gracefully majestic smiles, in the 
strained abstraction of their glance, in the effem- 
inate twitching of their shoulders, in the swaying 
motion of their figures, and in the bend of their 
\ knees; it was betrayed by the very sound of their 
I voices, which seemed to be amiably and f astidi- 
i ously returning thanks to a subservient throng. 
All these warriors were splendidly washed, 
shaved, perfumed through and through with some 
scent or other which is a genuine appurtenance of 
the nobility and the Guards, a mixture of the most 
capital cigar smoke and the most astonishing 
patchouli. And all their hands were those of 
nobles— white, large, with nails as strong as ivory; 
the moustaches of all fairly shone, their teeth 
gleamed, and their very delicate skin was red on 
the cheeks, blue on the chin. Some of the young 
generals were playful, others were thoughtful; 
but the stamp of superior propriety lay upon them 
I all. Each one, apparently, was profoundly con- 
t scious of his own worth, and of the dignity of his 
future part in the empire, and bore himself se- 
verely and boldly, with a faint tinge of that f risk- 
iness, that " devil-take-me " air, which so natu- 
rally makes its appearance during travels abroad. 
Having noisily and pompously seated them- 
selves, the company summoned the bustling wait- 
ers. Litvinoff made haste to finish his glass of 

9a 



SMOKE 

milk, paid what he owed, and pulling his hat well 
down over his eyes, he was on the point of slip- 
ping past the picnic of generals. . . 

" Grig6ry Mikhaflitch," said a woman's voice. 
— " Don't you know me? " 

He involuntarily halted. That voice. . That 
voice had but too often caused his heart to beat 
; in days gone by. . . He turned round and beheld 
J Irina. 

She was sitting at a table, and with her arms 
crossed on the back of a chair which had been 
pushed aside, she was gazing at him courteously, 
almost joyously, with her head bent on one side, 
and smiling. 

Litvinoff instantly recognised her, although she 

had changed since he had seen her for the last 

time, ten years previously, although from a yoimg 

girl she had become a woman. Her slender figure 

had developed and blossomed out, the lines of her 

formerly compressed shoulders now suggested 

those of the goddesses who start forth from the 

I ceilings of ancient Italian palaces. But her eyes 

j remained the same, and it seemed to Litvinoff 

\ that they were gazing at him in the same manner 

as then, in that tiny house in Moscow. 

" Irfna Pdvlovna • . . ." he began irresolutely. 

" You recognise me? How glad I am! . . . 
how I . . ." (She paused, blushed slightly, and 
drew herself up. ) " This is a very pleasant meet- 
ing," she went on in French.—" Allow me to in- 

97 



SMOKE 

troduce you to my husband. ValMen, Monsieur 
Litvfnoff , un ami d'enfance; Valerian Vladimiro- 
vitch Ratmfroff, my husband." 

One of the young generals, almost the most ele- 
gant of them ally rose from his chair, and bowed 
to Litvinoff with extreme courtesy, while his re- 
maining comrades knit their brows slightly, or, 
not so much knit their brows, as became immersed, 
for the moment, each one in himself, as though 
protesting in advance at any connection with a 
strange civilian, while the other ladies who were 
taking phrt in the picnic considered it necessary 
to screw their eyes up a trifle and to grin, and 
even to express dissatisfaction on their faces. 

" You. • . . Have you been long in Baden? " in- 
quired General Ratmfroff, assuming an aflTected 
air, in a certain non-Russian fashion, and evi- 
dently not knowing what to talk about with the 
friend of his wife*s youth. 

" Not long," replied Litvfnofi^. 

" And do you intend to remain long? " went 
on the polite general. 

" I have not yet made up my mind." 

"Ah! That is very pleasant . . . very." 

The general became dumb. Litvfnoff also 
maintained silence. 

Both held their hats in their hands, and with 
bodies inclined forward and teeth displayed, they 
stared at each other's brows. 

'* Deux gendarmci un beau dimanche/^ struck 

9S 



SMOKE 

up, out of tune, as a matter of oourse»~we have 
yet to meet the Russian noble who does not sing 
out of tune,— a mole-eyed, sallow general with an 
expression of perpetual irritation on his face, as 
though he could not pardon himself for his own 
appearance. He was the only one among all those 
comrades who did not resemble a rose. 

" But why do not you sit down, Grig6ry Mi- 
khailitch? " remarked Irfna at last. 

Litvfnoff obeyed and sat down. 

" I say. Valerian, give me a light," said (in 
English) another general, also yoimg but already 
obese, with immovable eyes, which seemed to be 
riveted on the air, and with thick, silky side- 
whiskers, in which he slowly plunged his snow- 
white fingers. Ratmiroff gave him a silver box 
filled with matches. 

'' Avec vcras des papirosf ** inquired one of the 
ladies, with a lisp. 

'' De vrcds papelitoSj comtesse/' 

^' Deiuv gendarmes un beau dimanche/' struck 
up the mole-eyed general again, almost gnashing 
his teeth. 

" You certainly must call upon us," Irina was 
saying, meanwhile, to LitvinoflT.— " We are liv- 
ing in the Hotel de FEurope. I am always at 
home from four until six. You and I have not 
seen each other for a long time." 

LitvfnofiT cast a glance at Irfna; she did not; 
lower her eyes^ 

99 



SMOKE 

" Yes, Irina Pdvlovna, it is a long time. Not 
since Moscow days." 

" Since Moscow days— since Moscow days," 
she repeated haltingly.— " Do come; we will 
have a chat and recall old times. But, do you 
know, Grigory Mikhailitch, you have not altered 
much." 

" Really? But you have changed, Irina Pdv- 
lovna." 

" I have grown old." 

" No, that was not what I meant to say. . ." 

"Irene?" in an inquiring tone of voice, said one 
of the ladies, with a yellow bonnet on yellow hair, 
after a preliminary whisper and giggle with the 
cavalier who sat beside her.—" Irina? " 

" I have grown old," repeated Irina, making 
no reply to the lady; " but I have not changed. 
No, no, I have not changed in any way." 

'' Deux gendarmes un beau cUmanchel '' rang 
out again. The irritable general could recall only 
the first line of the familiar song. 

" It still pricks. Your lUustriousness," said the 
fat general with the side-whiskers in a loud voice, 
pronouncing his os broadly, probably in allusion 
to some amusing story familiar to the whole heau 
monde, and uttering a curt, wooden laugh, he 
again fixed his eyes on the air. All the rest of 
the party broke out laughing also. 

" What a sad dog you are, Boris! " remarked 
(in English) Ratmiroff in a low tone. He even 

100 



SMOKE 

pronounced the name " Boris " in English 
fashion. 

" Irene? " inquired for the third time, the lady 
in the yellow bonnet. Irina turned quickly to- 
ward her. 

'' Eh, bient quoi? Qtie me vouUz-voua? '' 

'' Je vous le dircd plus tard/' replied the lady 
affectedly. Although possessed of an extremely 
unattractive exterior, she was constantly indulg- 
ing in affectations and grimaces; a certain wit 
had once said of her that she ^'minaudait dans le 
vide '^— made grimaces at empty space. 

Irina frowned and impatiently shrugged her 
shoulders. 

'' Mais que fait done Monsieur Verdier? Pour- 
qtLoi ne vient-il pas? '' exclaimed one lady, with 
those drawling accents which are insufferable to 
French ears, and which constitute the specialty of 
the Great Russian pronunciation. 

" Akh, you, akh, you. Monsieur Verdier, Mon- 
sieur Verdier," groaned a lady, who had certainly 
been born in Arzamds. 

'' TranquiUisez-vouSj mesdames'' interposed 
^SLsiXxmroS :—'' Monsieur Verdier rnfa promis de 
venir se mettre a vos pieds/' 

"Ha, ha, ha!"— the ladies began to flutter 
their fans. 

The waiter brought several glasses of beer. 

" Bairisch'bier? ^' inquired the general with the 
side-whiskers, intentionally speaking in a bass 

101 



SMOKE 

voice, and pretending to be surprised.—^' Guten 
Morgen/' 

"Well? Is Count PAvel still there?" one 
young general coldly and languidly asked an- 
other. 

" Yes,"— replied the other, with equal coldness. 
—^' Mais c'est provisoire. Serge, they say, is in 
his place." 

" Ohol " hissed the other through his teeth. 

" Ye-es," hissed the first. 

" I cannot understand," began the general who 
had been hununing the song:—" I cannot under- 
stand what possessed P61ya to defend himself, to 
allege various excuses. . . Well, he molested the 
merchant^ il lui a fait rendre gorge . . . well, but 
what of that? He may have had his reasons." 

" He was afraid . . of being shown up in the 
newspapers," muttered some one. 

The irritable general flared up. 

" Well, that is the very worst of all 1 The news- 
papers! Shown upl If it had depended on me, 
all I would permit yoiw newspapers to print 
would be the fixed prices of meat and of bread, 
and the advertisements of the sale of fur cloaks 
and boots." 

" And of noblemen's estates at auction," put 
in Ratmiroff . 

" If you like, under present conditions. But 
what a conversation in Baden, at the Vieux Cha- 
teaul" 

102 



SMOKE 

'* Mais pas du tout! pas du tout! ** lisped the 
kdy in the yellow bonnet.— '' J^odor^ fo* gue«*toTW 
poUtiques/* 

''Madame a reason/^ interposed another gen- 
eral, with an extremely agreeable and rather ef- 
feminate face.—" Why should we avoid those 
questions . . . even in Baden?" At these words 
. he glanced politely at Litvfnoff , and smiled con- 
i descendingly.— " An upright man ought no- 
l where, under any circumstances, to renounce his 
1 convictions. Is not that true? *' 

" Of course," replied the irritable general, also 
casting his eyes on Litvinoff, and, as it were, in- 
directly reproving him:—" but I do not perceive 
the necessity . . ." 

" No, no," interrupted the condescending gen- 
eral, with his former mildness. 

" Here our friend, Valeridn Vladimirovitch, 
alluded to the sale of noblemen's estates. What 
of that? Is it not a fact? " 

" But it is impossible to sell them now; nobody 
wants them! " exclaimed the irritable general. 

" Possibly . . . possibly. Therefore, it is nec- 
essary to declare that fact . . . that sad fact, at 
r every step. We are ruined— very good. We are 
I humiliated,— it is impossible to dispute that; but 
we large proprietors, we represent a principle . . 
un principe . . . nevertheless. It is our duty to , 
j uphold that principle. Pardon, madame, I think ^| 
j you have dropped your handkerchief. When a 



SMOKE 

certain blindness, so to speak, takes possession of 
even the loftiest minds, we ought to point out— 
humbly point out" (the general stretched out 
his finger),—" point out with the finger to the 
citizen the abyss whither everyihing is hastening. 
We ought to utter a warning: we ought to say 
with respectful fimmess: * turn back, turn back. .' 
I That is what we ought to say." 

" But it is impossible to turn back completely," 
remarked Ratmirofi* thoughtfully. 

The condescending general merely grinned. 

" Completely; completely back, mon trh cher. 
The further back the better." 

Again the general cast a polite glance at Litvi- 
noff . The latter could restrain himself no longer. 

" You would not have us return to the time of 
the Seven Boydrs, Your Excellency? " 

" Even that! I expressed my meaning without 
any ambiguity; we must do over . . . yes . . . 
do over everything that has been done." 

" And the nineteenth of February also? " 

"Yes, the nineteenth of February^ also,— so far 
as that is possible. On est patriate ou on ne Vest 
pas. * But freedom?' I shall be asked. Do you 
think this freedom is sweet to the people? Just 
ask them. . . ." 

" Try," retorted Litvinoff :— " try to deprive 
them of that freedom. . ." 

^The date of the Bmandpation Proclamation, March S, 
1861.~Trakslatob. 

104 



SMOKE 

'^ Comment nommez-vous ce monsieur? '' whis- 
pered the general to Ratmiroff . 

" But what are you talking about there? " sud- 
denly began the fat general, who, evidently, 
played the part of a spoiled child in this company. 
" Still about the newspapers? About quill- 
drivers? Let me tell you what an experience I 
had with a quill-driver — it was splendid! I was 
1 told: 'un folUculaire has written a libel on you/ 
Well, of course, I immediately called him to ac- 
count. They brought the dear man. . . * How 
come you,' says I, * my friend, folUculaire, to be 
writing libels? Have you conquered your patri- 
otism? ' * I have,' says he. * Well, and do you 
love money, folUculaire? ' says I. * I do,' says he. 
So then, my dear sirs, I let him smell of the knob 
of my cane.—* And do you love this also, my 
angel? '— * No,' says he, * I don't love that.'— 
* Well,' says I, * you smell of that in proper fash- 
ion—my hands are clean.'—* I don't like it,' says 
he, * and that 's enough.'—* But I, my dear fel- 
low,' says I, * love it very much, only not for my- 
self. Do you understand this allegory, my 
treasure? '— * I understand,' says he.—* Then look 
: to it, be a good boy hereafter, and now here 's a 
• ruble for you ; take yourself off, and bless me day 
and night.' And the folUculaire departed." 

The general broke into a laugh, and all the 
others again followed his example and laughed— 
all, with the exception of Irina, who did not even 

105 



SMOKE 

smile, and stared In a somewhat gloomy manner 
at the story-teller. 

The condescending general tapped Boris on the 
shoulder. 

" You invented the whole of that, my beloved 
friend. . As if you would menace any one with a 
cane. . . You have n 't even any cane. C'est 
pour faire tire ces dames. It was just for the 
sake of a joke. But that 's not the point. I said 
a while ago that we must return completely. 
Understand me, I am not an enemy to so-called 
progress; but all those universities and seminaries 
there, and schools for the common people, those 
students, priests' sons, plebeians, and that small 
fry, tout ce fond du sac, la petite propr%6ti, pire 
que le proletariat ''— (the general spoke in a sub- 
dued, almost prostrated voice) —^' t'otZa ce qui 
m'effraie . . . that is what must be stopped . . . 
and it will stop." (Again he cast a caressing 
glance at Litvinoff.) " Yes, sir, we must call a 
halt. Do not forget that with us no one demands 
anything, asks anything. Does any one ask for 
self-government, for example? Do you ask for it? 
Or dost thou? or thou? or do you, mesdames? For 
you not only govern yourselves but also all the 
rest of us." (The general's extremely handsome 
countenance lighted up with an amused smile.) 
" My dear friends, why flee like a hare? Democ- 
racy delights in you, it bums incense before you, it 
is ready to subserve your ends . . for you know 

loa 



SMOKE 

this sword is two-edged. The old ways of times 
gone by are the best, after all . . They are much 
safer. Do not permit the common people to rea- 
son, and put your trust in the aristocracy, in which 
alone there is power. . . Really, it will be better 
so. But as for progress . . . personally, I have no 
i objection to progress. Only, do not give us any 
; lawyers, and jurors, and some county officials or 
other— but discipline, most of all, do not meddle 
with discipline; but you can build bridges, and 
: quays, and hospitals, and why should not the 
' streets be illuminated with gas? " 

" Petersburg has been fired on all four sides, 
and there 's progress for youl " hissed the irri- 
table general. 

" Well, I perceive that you are rancorous," re- 
marked the fat general languidly, as he swayed 
to and fro.—" It would be a good thing to ap- 
point you Chief Procurator of the Holy Synod; 
but, in my opinion, avec Orphic atuv enfers le 
progrh a dit son dernier mot/' 

''Fous dites toujours des bStises/' giggled the 
lady from Arzamds. 

The general assumed an air of dignity. 

'' Je ne suis jamais plus sSrieu^, madame, que 
quand je dis des bitises/' 

" Monsieur Verdier used that phrase several 
times," remarked Irina, in a low tone. 

'' De la poigne et des formes! *' exclaimed the 
fat general:— ''(fe la poigne surtout And that 

107 



SMOKE 

I may be translated into Russian thus: be cour- 
l teous, but give it to them straight in the teeth! " 

" Akh, you scamp, you incorrigible scamp!*' 
interposed the condescending general.—" Please 
do not listen to him, mesdames. He would not 
hurt a gnat. He contents himself with devouring 
his own heart." 

" Well, but no, Boris," began Ratmfroff, ex- 
changing a glance with his wife:—" a jest is a 
; jest, but this is carrying the thing too far. Prog- 
ress is a manifestation of social life, and that 
j must be borne in mind; it is a symptom. One 
' must keep an eye on it." 

" Well, yes," returned the fat general, and 
wrinkled up his nose.—" 'T is a well-known fact 
that your aim is to be a statesman! " 

" My aim is not in the least, to become a states- 
man. • • What has statesmanship to do with that? 
But one must not refuse to admit the truth." 

" Boris " again plunged his fingers into his 
whiskers, and riveted his eyes on the air. 

" Social life is very important, because in the 
development of a nation, in the fate, so to speak, 
of the fatherland ..." 

" Valerien," interrupted " B6ris " impres- 
sively:—'' il y a des dames id. I did not expect 
this from you. Or do you wish to get on a com- 
mittee?" 

" But they are all discontinued now, thank 
Grod," interposed the irritable general, and again 

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began to hum: '' Detuv gendarmes un beau 

dimanche " 

Ratmfroff raised his batiste handkerchief to his 
nose, and gracefully subsided into silence; the 
irritable general repeated: "The scampi the 
scamp! " But " B6ris " turned to the lady who 
was making grimaces into empty space, and» 
without lowering his voice, without even altering 
the expression of his face, he began to ask her 
when she "would crown his flame," as he was 
amazingly in love with her, and was suflTering to 
an unusual degree. 

With every moment that passed during the 
course of this conversation Litvinoff felt more 
, and more uncomfortable. His pride, his honour- 
i able, plebeian pride, fairly rose up in revolt. 
What was there in common between him, the son 
of a petty ofiicial, and those military aristocrats 
\ from Petersburg? He loved everjrthing which 
i they hated, he hated everything which they loved; 
■ he recognised that fact too plainly: he felt it with 
ihis whole being. He considered their jests in- 
sipid, their tone intolerable, their every movement 
artificial; in the very softness of their speech his 
ear detected scorn which revolted him— and yet 
he seemed to have grown timid in their presence 
—in the presence of those people, those enemies. . . 
" Faugh, how disgusting! I embarrass them, I 
seem ridiculous to them," kept whirling through 
his brain:—" and why do I remain here? Let me 

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go, let me go at once! " Irina's presence could 
not detain him: she also aroused melancholy emo- 
tions in him. He rose from his chair and began 
to take leave. 

"Are you going already?" said Irina» but 
after a little reflection she ceased to insist, and 
merely made him promise that he would not fail 
to call on her. General Ratmfroff, with the same 
refined courtesy as before, took leave of him, shook 
hands with him, and escorted him to the edge of 
the^platform. . . But Litvinoff had barely passed 
round the first turn in the road, when a hearty 
burst of laughter rang out behind him. This 
laughter did not refer to him, but to the long- 
expected Monsieur Verdier, who suddenly made 
his appearance on the platform, in a Tyrolean 
hat, a blue blouse, and mounted astride of an ass; 
but the blood fairly rushed to Litvfnoff 's cheeks, 
and he felt bitter, as though wormwood had glued 
his tightly-compressed lips together. " The de- 
spicable, vulgar creatures! " he muttered, without 
taking into consideration that the few moments 
spent in company of those people had not fur- 
nished him any cause to express himself so 
harshly. And Irina, the Irfna who had once been 
his, had got into that set! She moved in it, lived 
in it, reigned in it, for it she had sacrificed her 
own dignity, the best sentiments of her heart. . . 
Evidently, all was as it should be; evidently, she 
deserved no better fate! How glad he was that 

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it had not occurred to her to question him as to his 
intentions! He would have been obliged to state 
them before " them," in " their " presence. ^ . 
" Not for any consideration! Never 1** whispered 
Litvmoff, inhaling a deep breath of the fresh air, 
and descending the path to Baden almost at a 
run. He thought of his affianced bride, of his 
dear, good, holy Tdnya, and how pure, how noble, 
how upright, she appeared to himl With what 
genuine emotion he recalled her features, her 
words, even her habits • . . with what impatience 
did he await her return! 

His rapid pace calmed his nerves. On reach- 
ing home he seated himself at the table, took a 
book in his hand, and suddenly threw it down, 
and even shuddered. . What had happened to 
him? Nothing had happened to him, but Irina 
. . . Irina • . . his encounter with her suddenly 
struck him as surprising, strange, unusual. Was 
it possible he had met, had talked with that same 
] Irina? . . . And why did not that repulsive, 
i worldly stamp, wherewith all the others were so 
\ plainly marked, lie upon her also? Why did it 
■ seem to him that she was bored, or grieved, or 
oppressed by her position? She was in their 
camp, but she was not an enemy. And what 
could have made her treat him with such cordial- 
ity, ask him to come to her? 

Litvinoff gave a start.—" Oh Tanya, Tinyal *' 
he exclaimed impulsively:—*' thou art my angel, 

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my good genius— I love thee alone and will al- 
ways love thee. And I will not go to that woman. 
I will have nothing whatever to do with her I Let 
her amuse herself with her generals! " 
Litvfnoff again took up a book. 



ai^ 



XI 

LiTviNOFF took up a book, but he could not 
read. He left the house, strolled about a little, 
listened to the music, stared a while at the gam- 
ing, and again retiuned to his room— again made 
an attempt to read— still without success. Time, 
for some reason, dragged on with particular slow- 
I ness. Pishtchdlkin, the well-meaning arbitrator ^ 
( of the peace, came in, and sat there for about three 
} hours. He conversed, explained, put questions, 
argued in the intervals— now on lofty themes, 
now on useful ones, and at last diffused such 
tedium that poor Litvinoff almost set up a howL 
1 In the art of inspiring tedium, melancholy, cold, 
I helpless, hopeless tedium, Pishtchdlkin had no 
t rival, even among the people of the loftiest moral- 
ity, who are well-known masters in that line. The 
mere sight of his closely-clipped, smoothly- 
brushed head, of his light, lifeless eyes, his well- 
formed nose, inspired involuntary despondency, 
and his slow, baritone, apparently slumbering 
voice, seemed to have been created for the purpose 
of uttering, with conviction and perspicuity, 
apophthegms to the effect that two and two make 
four, and not five, and not three; that water is 
wet, and that virtue is laudable; that a private 

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person, equally with an empire, and an empire, 
equally with a private person, must have credit 
for financial operations. And withal, he was a 
most excellent man I But such is the fate decreed 
to Russia: our most excellent people are tire- 
some. Pishtchalkin withdrew ; Bindisofi* took his 
place, and slowly, with immense impudence, de- 
manded that Litvinoff should lend him one hun- 
dred guldens, which the latter gave him, in spite 
of the fact that he not only took no interest in 
Bindasoff, but even loathed him, and knew for 
a certainty that he would never get his money 
back again ; moreover, he needed it himself. Then 
why did he give it to him? the reader asks. The 
devil knows why I The Russians are great fellows 
at that. Let the reader lay his hand on his heart 
and recall how many acts in his own life have 
had, positively, no other cause. But Bindasoff 
did not even thank Litvinoff: he demanded a 
glass of Affenthaler (the red wine of Baden) and 
went away, without wiping his lips, and with a 
rude clumping of his boots. And how angry Lit- 
vinofi* was with himself, as he gazed at the red 
neck of the departing monopolist! Just before 
evening he received a letter from Tdnya, in which 
she informed him that in consequence of her 
aunt's illness she could not reach Baden in less 
than five or six days. This news produced an un- 
pleasant ejffect on Litvmoff: it aggravated his 
vexation, and he went to bed early in an evil 



SMOKE 

! frame of mind. The following day turned out 
I no better than the preceding, worse, if anything. 
From early morning Litvmoff 's room was filled 
with his fellow-countrymen: Bambdeff, Voroshf- 
lojff, Pishtchdlkin, the two ofiicers, the two Hei- 
delberg students, all thronged in at once, and 
never took their departure until almost dinner- 
time, although they speedily talked themselves 
out, and were evidently bored. They simply 
did not know what to do with themselves, and 
having once got into Litvinoff's quarters, they 
" stuck " there, as the expression is. At first they 
discussed the fact that Gubaryojff had gone back 
to Heidelberg, and that they must betake them- 
selves to him; then they philosophised a little, 
touched on the Polish question; then they pro- 
ceeded to argue about gambling, courtesans, be- 
gan to narrate scandalous anecdotes; at last a 
conversation arose about strong men, fat men, 
and gluttons. Ancient anecdotes were dragged 
out into the light of day, about Lukin, about the 
deacon who devoured, on a wager, thirty-three 
herrings, about the colonel of Uhlans, Izyedinojff, 
well known for his obesity, about the soldier who 
broke a beef -bone over his own forehead ; and then 
came downright lies. Pishtchdlkin himself nar- 
rated, with a yawn, that he knew a peasant woman 
in Little Russia, who, at her death, weighed 
twenty-seven puds^ and several pounds, and a 

lA pud is thirty-six pounds.— TtAKSUkioft. 



SMOKE 

landed proprietor, who had devoured three geese 
and a sturgeon for breakfast. BambaejQT sud- 
denly went into raptures, and declared that he 
himself was in a condition to eat a whole sheep, 
" of course, with condiments," while Voroshfloff 
rashly made such an absurd remark about his 
comrade, the muscular cadet, that all became 
silent, remained silent, stared at one another, 
took their hats, and dispersed. When he was 
left alone, Litvmoff tried to occupy himself 
with some work, but it seemed exactly as though 
soot had got into his head; he could do nothing 
of value, and the evening also was wasted. On 
the following morning, as he was preparing to 
breakfast, some one knocked at his door. " O 
LordI"— said Litvinoff to himself,— " there 's 
some one of those friends of yesterday again," 
and not without considerable shuddering, he 
called out: 

"Herein!" 

The door opened very softly, and Potiigin en- 
tered the room. 

Litvinoff was extremely glad to see him. 

"This is delightful!" he exclaimed, warmly 
pressing the hand of his unexpected guest:— 
"thank you! I should certainly have called on 
you, but you would not tell me where you live. 
Sit down, please, lay aside your hat. Sit down, I 
say!" 

Potiigin made no reply to Litvinoff's friendly 
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speeches, but stood shifting from foot to foot in 
the middle of the room, and merely laughed and 
rocked his head. Litvinoff's joyous reception 
evidently touched him, but there was something 
. constrained in the expression of his face. 

" There . . is a little misunderstanding here 
. . ." he began, not without hesitation.—" Of 
course I am always pleased . . . but, to tell the 
truth . . I have been sent to you." 

" That is, you mean to say," remarked Litvf- 
noff in a mournful tone,—" that you would not 
have come to me of your own accord? " 

" O, no, good gracious! . . . But I . . I— per- 
haps I should not have made up my mind to in- 
trude upon you to-day, if I had not been re- 
quested to call on you. In short, I have a message 
for you." 

" From whom, permit me to inquire? " 

" From a person of your acquaintance: from 
i Irina Pdvlovna Ratmiroff. Two days ago you 
j promised to call upon her, and you have not 
I done so." 

Litvlnojff fixed his eyes in amazement upon 
Potiigin. 

" Are you acquainted with Madame Ratmi- 
roff?" 

" As you see." 

" And do you know her intimately? " 

" I am her friend, to a certain degree." 

Litvinoff said nothing. 

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SMOKE 

" Allow me to ask you/' he began at last:— 
"do you know why Irina Pdvlovna wishes to 
see me?" 

Potugin walked to the window. 

" Yes, to a certain extent I do know. So far 
as I am able to judge, she was greatly delighted 
at her meeting with you,— well, and so she wishes 
to renew your former relations." 

" Renew! " repeated Litvinoff.— " Excuse my 
indiscretion, but permit me to ask you still an- 
other question. Do you know the nature of those 
relations?" 

" To tell the truth,— no, I do not. But I as- 
sume," added Potugin, suddenly turning to Lit- 
vfnoff, and gazing at him in a friendly way:—" I 
assume that they were of a good sort. Irina Pav- 
lovna praised you highly, and I had to give 
her my word that I would bring you. You will 
go?" 

"When?" 

" Now . . . immediately." 

Litvinoff merely flung out his hands with a 
gesture of surprise. 

" Irina Pavlovna," went on Potiigin,— " takes 
it for granted that that . . . how shall I express 
it . . . that set of people, let us say, in which you 
found her two days before yesterday, could not 
have aroused any special sympathy in you; but 
she has commanded me to say that the devil is not 
as black as he is painted." 

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" H'm. • • . • Is that expression applied pre- 
cisely to that • ... set? " 

" Yes . . and in general.*' 

" H'm . . . Well, and what is your own opin- 
ion about the devil, Soz6nt Ivdnitdi? ** 

" I think, Grig6ry Mikhailitch, that, in any 
case, he is not what he is represented to be." 

" Is he better? " 

" Whether he is better or worse it is difficult 
to decide, but he is not as represented. Well, how 
is it to be? Shall we go?" 

" You sit here a while first. I must confess, 
that it strikes me as rather strange. ." 

" What does, if I may presume to inquire? " 

" How have you— you in particular— been able 
to become the friend of Irina Pavlovna? " 

Potiigin surveyed himself with a glance. 

" With my figure and my position in society, 
it really does seem incredible; but you know- 
Shakespeare said : ' There are many things, friend 
Horatio,' and so forth. Life also does not like 
to jest. Here's a comparison for you: a tree 
stands before you, and there is no wind; how can 
a leaf on the lowest bough touch a leaf on the 
highest bough? In no way whatever. But let a 
storm arise, and everything gets mixed up— and 
those two leaves come into contact." 

''Aha I That means that there has been a 
storm? " 

" I should think sol Can one get along in life 
119 



SMOKE 

without storms? But away with philosophy. It 
is time to go." 

But LitvinojBT still hesitated. 

"O Lordl" exclaimed Potugin, with a com- 
ical grimace:—" how queer the young men have 
become nowadays 1 The most charming of 
women invites them to her, sends a messenger 
after them, a special messenger, and they stand 
on ceremony! Shame on you, my dear sir, shame 
on you I Here 's your hat. Take it, and ' vor- 
warts! ' as our friends the ardent Grcrmans say." 

Litvinoff still stood for a space in thought, but 
ended by taking his hat, and sall}ring forth from 
his chamber with Potugin. 



ISO 



XII 

Thet came to one of the best hotels in Baden, and 
asked for Madame Ratmiroff. The hall-porter 
first inquired their names, then immediately re- 
plied, " die Frau Furstin ist zu Hause/* and him- 
self conducted them up the stairs, knocked on the' 
door of the room with his own hand, and an- 
nounced them. ''Die Frau Fiirstin'' received 
them at once; she was alone: her husband had 
gone ojff to Karlsruhe to meet an official big-wig, 
one of "the influential personages," who was pass- 
ing through. Irina was seated beside a small 
table and embroidering on canvas when Potugin 
and Litvinojff crossed the threshold. She hastily 
threw aside her sewing, pushed the table away, and 
rose; an expression of unfeigned satisfaction 
spread over her face. She wore a morning gown, 
closed to the throat; the beautiful outlines of her 
shoulders and arms were visible through the thin 
material; her carelessly twisted hair had become 
loosened, and fell low on her slender neck. Irina 
cast a swift glance at Potugin, whispered 
^'merci/* and offered her hand to Litvfnoff, amia- 
bly reproaching him for his f orgetf ulness. " And 
an old friend at that," she added. 

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Litvinoff began to make excuses. '' C'esi bien, 
c'est hien/* she said hastily, and taking his hat 
from him with gracious force, she made him sit 
down. Potugin also seated himself, biit imme- 
diately rose, and saying that he had business which 
could not be deferred, and that he would drop in 
after dinner, he took his leave. Irlna again threw 
him a swift glance and gave him a friendly nod, 
and as soon as he had disappeared behind the por- 
tiere, she turned to Litvinoff with impatient 
vivacity. 

" Grig6ry Mikhaflovitch," she began in Rus- 
sian, in her soft and resonant voice:—" here we 
are alone at last, and I can say to you that I am 
J very glad of our meeting, because it ... it af- 
fords me the opportunity . . ." (Irina looked him 
straight in the face), "to ask your forgiveness.*' 

Litvinoff involuntarily shuddered. He had 
i not anticipated such a rapid attack. He had not 
anticipated that she herself would turn the con- 
versation on bygone days. 

" For what . . forgiveness ..." he stam- 
mered out. 

Irina blushed. 

" For what? . . you know for what," she said, 
and turned aside a little.—" I was to blame to- 
ward you, Grig6ry Mikhailitch . . although, of 
course, such was my fate " (Litvinoff recalled her 
letter), " and I do not regret it . . in any case, 
it would be too late; but when I met you so un- 

122 



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f expectedly, I said to myself that we must become 
j friends without fail— without fail . . . and I 
should have felt deeply pained if it had not suc- 
ceeded . . . and it seems to me, that to that end, 
f you and I must have an explanation without 
: delay, and once for all, in order that thereafter 
\ there might be no • • • gine, no awkwardness, 
—once for all,— Grig6ry Mikhailovitch; and that 
you ought to tell me that you forgive me, 
otherwise I shall suspect in you . . . de la ratir 
cune. Voila! It may be a great piece of assump- 
tion on my part, because you, in all probability, 
have long ago forgotten everything, but, never- 
theless, do tell me that you have forgiven me.** 

Irina uttered this entire speech without taking 
breath, and Litvinoff could see that tears glis- 
tened in her eyes . . yes, actually tears. 

" Pray, Irina Pavlovna," he hastily began:— 
" are n't you ashamed to excuse yourself, to ask 
forgiveness . . it is an affair of the past, it has 
utterly lapsed out of existence, and I can but feel 
siu*prised that you, in the midst of the splendour 
which surrounds you, can still have preserved a 
memory of the gloomy companion of your early 
youth. . ." 

" Does that surprise you? " said Irina softly. 
" It touches me," replied Litvinoff :— " be- 
cause I could not possibly imagine . . ." 

" But you have not yet told me that you have 
forgiven me," interrupted Irina. 

123 • 



SMOKE 

" I rejoice sincerely in your happiness, Irina 
Pdvlovna; with all my soul I wish you the very 
best on earth. • • •" 

" And you bear no ill-will? " 

" I remember only those fair moments, for 
which I was, in times past, indebted to you." 

Irlna extended both her hands to him. Litvf- 
noff pressed them warmly, and did not inune- 
diately release them. ... A mysterious some- 
thing which had long ceased to exist began to stir 
in his heart at that soft contact. Again Irina 
looked him straight in the face; but this time he 
smiled. . . And for the first time he gazed directly 
and intently at her. . . Again he recognised the 
features, once so dear, and those deep eyes with 
their unusual lashes, and the little mole on the 
cheek, and the peculiar sweep of the hair above 
the brow, and her habit of curling her lips in a 
certain gracious and amusing way, and of im- 
parting to her eyebrows the suspicion of a quiver, 
he recognised all, all. . . But how much more 
beautiful she had grown 1 What charm and 
power in the young feminine body! And there 
was neither red paint, nor white, nor blackening 
for the eyebrows, nor powder, nor any sort of 
artificiality on the fresh, pure face. . . Yes, she 
was a real beauty I 

A meditative mood took possession of Litvf- 
nojff. . . . He continued to gaze at her, but his 
thoughts were already far 'jway. . . Irina ob- 
served this. 

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SMOKE 

"Well, that's capital," she said aloud:— 
" Well, now my conscience is at ease, and I can 
satisfy my curiosity. . . ." 

" Curiosity," repeated Litvxnoff, as though in 
perplexity. 

"Yes, yes. . . I insist upon knowing what you 
have been doing all this time, what your plans 
are; I want to know everything just the same as 
when . . . everything, everything . . . and you 
must tell me the truth, because, I warn you, that 
I have not lost sight of you ... so far as that 
has been possible. . ." 

" You have not lost sight of me, you . . . there 
. . in Petersburg? " 

" In the midst of the splendour which sur- 
rounds me, as you just expressed it. Yes, ex- 
actly that ; I have not lost sight of you. You and 
I will discuss the splendour later on; but now you 
must narrate to me a great deal, narrate at 
length; no one will disturb us. Akh, how splen- 
did that wiU be! " added Irina, merrily, seating 
herself in an arm-chair and putting on a pretty 
air.—" Come, now, begin." 

" Before I tell my story, I must thank you," 
began Litvinoff . 

" What for? " 

"For the bouquet of flowers which made its 
appearance in my chamber." 

" What bouquet? I know nothing about it." 

" What? " 

" I tell you, I know nothing about it. • • But 
J25 



SMOKE 

I am waiting . . . waiting for your story.— Akh, 
what a clever fellow that Potiigin is to have 
brought you! " 

Litvinoff pricked up his ears. 

" Have you been acquainted long with that Mr. 
Potiigin? *' he inquired. 

" Yes, for a long time . . . but tell your story." 

" And do you know him intimately? " 

" Oh, yes! "— Irina sighed.—" There are pecu- 
liar reasons for it. . . You have heard of Eliza 
By^lsky, of course. . . The one who died such a 
frightful death last year?— Akh, yes, I had for- 
gotten that our stories are not known to you. 
Happily, happily, you do not know them. Oh, 
quelle chancel at last, at last, there is one man, 
a live man, who knows none of our affairs! 
And one can talk Russian with him, bad 
Russian, but Russian all the same, and not 
that eternal, affected, repulsive Petersburg 
French!" 

" And you say that Potiigin had some connec- 
tion with . . ." 

" It is very painful to me to recall that," inter- 
posed Irfna.— " Eliza was my best friend at the 
Institute, and afterward, in Petersburg, we saw 
each other constantly. She confided to me all her 
secrets: she was very unhappy, she suffered much. 
Potiigin behaved splendidly in that affair, like a 
genuine knight! He sacrificed himself. It was 
only then that I prized him at his true value I But 

126 



SMOKE 

we have digressed again. I am waiting for your 
story, Grig6ry Mikhaflovitch." 

" But my story cannot in the least interest you, 
Irina PAvlovna." 

" That is no concern of yours/' 

" Remember, Irina Pdvlovna, we have not met 
for ten years. How much has happened,— how 
much water has flowed past since then! '* 

"Not water only! not water only!" she re- 
peated, with a peculiar, bitter expression:—" and 
that is why I wish to hear you. . ." 

" And, moreover, I really cannot think where 
to begin." 

" At the beginning. From the very time when 
you . . . when I went away to Petersburg. You 
then remained in Moscow. . . Do you know, I 
have never been back to Moscow since that 
day!" 

" Really? " 

" At first it was not possible, and afterward, 
when I married . . ." 

" And have you been married long? " 

" Three years." 

" You have no children? " 

" No," she replied drily. 

Litvinoff fell silent. 

" And until your marriage you lived altogether 
with that— what 's his name— Count Reisen- 
bach? " 

Irina contemplated him fixedly, as though de- 
127 



SMOKE 

sirous of comprehending why he asked that ques* 
tion. 

" No . . /' she said at last. 

" Consequently, your parents. • . By the way, 
I have not asked you about them. How are 
they? . . ." 

" They are both well." 

" And they live in Moscow as formerly? " 

" Yes." 

" And your brothers and sisters? " 

" All is well with them; I have provided for 
them all." 

" Ahl "— Litvinoff cast a sidelong glance at 
Irina.— " As a matter of fact, Irina Pavlovna, it 
is not I who ought to relate the story, but you, 
if only . . ." 

He suddenly caught himself up, and stopped 
speaking. 

Irina raised her hands to her face, and began to 
twist her wedding ring round on her finger. 

" Do you think so? I do not refuse," she 
said at last.—" Some time, if you like. . . But 
it is your turn first . . because, you see, I ' 
have kept watch over you, yet 1 know almost 
nothing about you; but about me . . . well, 
about me, you surely must have heard a good 
deal. Is n't that true? Tell me, you have heard 
things? " 

" You have occupied too prominent a place in 
the world, Irina Pavlovna, not to start rumours 

J28 



SMOKE 

. . . especially in the country districts where I 
was, and where every rumour is believed." 

" And you believed those rumours? And of 
what sort were they? " 

" I must confess, Irina Pdvlovna, that those 
rumours very rarely reached my ears. I led an 
extremely isolated life." 

" How so? Were not you in the Crimea, in 
the militia?" 

" And is that known to you? " 

" As you see. I tell you that you were 
watched." 

Again Litvfnoff was forced to wonder. 

" Why should I tell you what is already known 
to you without that?" said Litvinoff, in a low 
voice. 

" Because . . because . . in order to comply 
with my request. I entreat you, Grig6ry Mi- 
khaflovitch." 

Litvinoff inclined his head, and began . . . be- 
gan rather confusedly, in general outlines, to 
communicate to Irina his far from complicated 
adventures. He paused frequently, and cast an in- 
quiring glance at Irina, as much as to say: " Is n't 
this enough? " But she insistently demanded that 
he should continue his narration, and pushing her 
hair back behind her ears, and resting her elbows 
on the arms of the easy-chair, seemed to be seizing 
every word with strained attention. Any one 
looking at her from a distance, and watching the 

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expression of her face, might have thought that 
she was not listening to what Litvinoff was tell- 
ing her, but was merely immersed in meditation. 
. . But she was not meditating upon Litvinoff, 
although he became embarrassed, and flushed 
crimson beneath her persistent gaze. Before her 
had started forth a whole life, another life, not 
his— her own life. 

Litvinoff did not finish, but fell silent, under 
the influence of a disagreeable sensation of con- 
stantly augmenting, inward discomfort This 
time Irina said nothing to him, did not ask him 
to continue, and pressing her palm to her eyes, 
as though weary, she slowly leaned against the 
back of her chair and remained motionless. Lit- 
vinoff waited a while, and reflecting that his visit 
had already lasted more than two hours, was on 
the point of extending his hand to take his hat, 
when suddenly, in the adjoining room, the swift 
squeak of thin, lacquered boots resounded, and, 
preceded by that same odour of nobility and the 
Guards, Valeridn Vladimirovitch Ratmiroff en- 
tered the room. 

Litvinoff rose from his chair, and exchanged 
a bow with the good-looking general. But Irina, 
without any haste, removed her hand from her 
face, and bestowing a cold glance upon her hus- 
band, remarked, in French : — " Ah I So you have 
returned! But what time is it? " 

" It is almost four o'clock, ma chbre amiCj and 
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SMOKE 

you are not yet dressed— the Princess will be wait- 
ing for us/' replied the general, and with an ele- 
gant inclination of his body in the direction of 
Litvinoff , with the almost effeminate playfulness 
in his voice which was peculiar to him, he added: 
— " Evidently, your amiable guest has made you 
forget the time." 

The reader will permit us to impart to him, at 
this point, a few facts concerning Grcneral Rat- 
miroff. His father was the natural . • • what 
do you think? You are not mistaken, but we did 
not wish to say it • • • the natural son of a prom- 
inent grandee of the times of Alexander I., and 
of a pretty little French actress. The grandee 
had opened a career for his son, but had left him 
no property,— and that son (the father of our 
hero) had not succeeded in becoming rich either: 
he had died with the rank of colonel, in the voca- 
tion of chief of police. A year before his death 
he had married a pretty young widow, who had 
been obliged to have recourse to his protection. 
His son and the widow's, Valeridn Vladimiro- 
vitch, having got into the Pages Corps through 
influence, had attracted the attention of the au- 
thorities—not so much by proficiency in his stud- 
ies as by his military bearing, his good manners, 
and his good morals (although he had been sub- 
jected to everything, which all former pupils of 
the government military institutions must under- 
go),— and had graduated into the Guards. He 

13i 



SMOKE 

had made a brilliant career, thanks to the modest 
gaiety of his disposition, his skill in dancing, his 
masterly riding as orderly officer at parades— 
mostly on other people's horses— and, in conclu- 
sion, to a special art of familiarly-respectful be- 
haviour toward the loftiest personages, a mourn- 
fully-caressing, almost forlorn, obsequiousness, 
not devcHd of a dash of liberalism, light as down. 
• . This liberalism did not prevent him, neverthe- 
less, from soundly flogging fifty peasants in a 
revolted White Russian village, which he had been 
sent to pacify. He was the possessor of an at- 
tractive and extremely youthful exterior; smooth, 
ruddy, supple and adhesive: he enjoyed remark- 
able success with the women: distinguished old 
ladies fairly went wild over him. Cautious by 
habit, taciturn through calculation. General Rat- 
mirofi^, like the industrious bee, which extracts 
juice even from wretched flowers, was constantly 
circulating in the highest society— and, devoid of 
morality, devoid of every sort of knowledge, but 
with the reputation of a capable man, with a good 
scent for people, and comprehension of circum- 
stances, and chief of all— with an inflexibly firm 
desire of good things for himself —he at last saw 
all roads open before him. . . 

Litvinoff* smiled in a constrained way and Irina 
merely shrugged her shoulders. 

" Well," she said, in the same cold tone,—" did 
you see the Count ? " 

.18^ 



SMOKE 

" Of course I saw him. He ailked to be remem- 
bered to you." 

" Ah! Is he still as stupid as ever, that pro- 
tector of yours? " 

Greneral Ratmiroff made no reply, and only 
laughed a little through his nose, as though mak- 
ing allowance for the precipitancy of woman's 
judgment. Benevolent adults reply to the absurd 
sallies of children with precisely that sort of a 
laugh. 

" Yes," added Irina:— " the stupidity of your 
Count is too astounding, and it strikes me that I 
have had plenty of opportunity to observe it." 

" It was you yourself who sent me to him," re- 
marked the general, through his teeth, and turn- 
ing to Litvinoff, he asked him, in Russian:— 
'' Was he undergoing a cure of the Baden 
waters? " 

'' I am well, thank God," replied Litvinoff. 
. " That 's the best thing of all," went on the 
general, with an amiable grin:— "yes, and in 
general, people do not come to Baden for the sake 
t)f taking the cure; but the waters here arc very 
efficacious, je vetur dire, e^caces; and for any one 
who, like myself, for instance, is suffering from 
a nervous cough. ..." 

Irfna rose in haste.— "We shall meet agam, 
Grigory Mikhaflovitdi, and that soon, I hope,"— 
she said in French, scornfully . interrupting her 
husband's speech:— "but now I must go and 

osa 



SMOKE 

dress. That old Frinoess is insufferable with her 
eternal parties de plaUirj where there is nothing 
, but tedium." 

I " You are very severe on everything to-day/' 
! muttered her husband, and slipped into the other 
\ room. 

Litvinoff went toward the door. 
" You have told me everjrthing," she said, " but 
you have concealed the principal thing." 
"What is that?" 
\ " It is said that you are going to marry? " 
\ Litvfnoff crimsoned to his very ears. . . In 
fact, he had deliberately refrained from mention- 
ing TAnya; but he felt frightfully vexed, in the 
first place, because Irina knew about his mar- 
riage, and in the second, because she had caught 
him, as it were, in a desire to hide the marriage 
from her. Decidedly, he did not know what to 
say, but Irfna never took her eyes from him. 

" Yes, I am about to marry," he said at last, 
and immediately took his departure. 
Ratmfroff returned to the room. 
" Well, why don't you get dressed? " he in- 
quired. 

^* Go alone; my head aches." 
" But the Princess ..." 
Irina measured her husband with a glance from 
head to foot, turned her back on him, and went 
off to her dressing-room. 



lU 



XIII 

LrrviNOFF was extremely dissatisfied with him- 
self, as though he had lost money at roulette, or 
had broken his pledged word • An inward voioe 
told him, that as an affianced bridegroom, as a 
staid grown man, and no longer a boy, it was not 
proper for him to listen to the instigations of curi- 
osity, nor to the seductions of memory. " Mudi 
need there was for me to go I " he argued. " On 
her side it was nothing but coquetry, a whim, ca- 
price, . She is bored, she has grown tired of every 
thing, she caught at me ... a dainty person 
sometimes suddenly longs for black bread • • . 
well, and that 's all right. But why did I run to 
her? Could I . . help despising her?". This 
last word he did not utter, even mentally, without 
an effort,—" Of course, there is no danger what- 
ever, and there can be none ": he resumed his ar- 
gument. " For I know with whom I have to deal. 
But, nevertheless, one should not play with fire. 
. . I won't set foot in her house again." Litvl- 
noff did not dare, or could not yet, admit to him- 
self, to what a degree Irina had seemed beautiful 
to him, and how powerfully she had aroused his 
emotion. 

185 



SMOKE 

Again the day passed in a dull and languid 
manner. At dinner he chanced to sit beside a '' bel 
homme/' of fine bearing, with dyed moustache, 
who uttered not a word, but merely puffed and 
.opened his eyes very wide . . . but, being sud- 
denly seized with hiccough, proved to be a fellow- 
countryman, for he instantly said in Russian: 
" Did n 't I say that I ought not to eat melons! " 
In the evening also nothmg cheering happened: 
Bihddsoff, before Litvfnoff's very eyes, won a 
sum four times as large as the one he had bor- 
rowed from him, but not only did not repay 
the debt, but even looked him in the face with a 
menacing glance, as though preparing to casti- 
gate him even more painfully for having been a 
witness of his winnings. On the following morn- 
ing the horde of f ellow-countrjmoien descended 
upon him again; it was with difficulty that Litvi- 
noff got rid of them, and betaking himself to the 
mountains, hit upon Irina the very first thing- 
he pretended that he did not recognise her, and 
passed swiftly by ;— then on Potiigin. He was on 
the point of entering into conversation with Po- 
tiigin, but the latter answered him unwillingly. 
He was leading by the hand a smartly attired lit- 
tle girl, with fluffy, almost white locks, great dark 
eyes in a pale, sickly little face, and that peculiar 
imperious, impatient expression, which is charac- 
teristic of spoiled children. Litvinoff spent a 
couple of hours on the mountains, and then re- 
. 186 



SMOKE 

turned home, along Lichtenthaler Avenue. . . • 
A lady with a blue veil over her face, who was 
sitting on a bench, hastily rose and approached 
him. . . He recognised Irina. 

" Why do you avoid me, Grigory Mikhailo- 
vitch,'' she said in an unsteady voice, such as a 
person uses whose heart is seething. 

Litvinoff was embarrassed. — " Do I avoid you, 
IrinaPdvlovna?" 

" Yes, you . . . you . . • ." 

Irina seemed agitated, almost incensed. 

" You are mistaken, I assure you." 

*' No, I am not mistaken. Did not I see this 
morning— when we met, — did not I see that you 
knew me? Tell me, did n 't you recognise me? 
TeU me? " 

" I really . . Irina Pavlovna . . /* 

" Grigory Mikhaflovitch, you are a straight- 
forward man, you have always spoken the truth: 
: tell me— tell me, surely you recognised me? you 
I tiuTied aside deliberately." 

Litvinoff glanced at Irina. Her eyes shone 
with a strange brilliancy, but her lips and cheeks 
gleamed with a death-like pallor through the close 
meshes of her veil. In the expression of her face, 
in the very sound of her impetuous whisper, there 
was something so irresistibly mournful, beseedh- 
ing. . . . Litvinoff could dissimulate no longer. 

"Yes. . . I recognised you," he said, not with- 
out an effort 

187 



SMOKE 

Irina shuddered softly, and sof tiy dropped her 
hands. 

" Why did not you come to me? " she whis- 
pered. 

"Because . . . because I "—Litvfnoff stepped 
aside from the path. Irina silently followed him. 
— " Why? " he repeated, and his face suddenly 
lighted up, and a feeling akin to malice oppressed 
his chest and his throat.— "You . . . you ask 
that, after all that has taken place between us? 
Not now, of course, not now, but there . . . there 
... in Moscow." 

" But surely, you and I decided, surely you 
promised . . ." Irina began. 
I " I promised nothing. Pardon the harshness 
1 of my expressions, but you demand the truth — 
I therefore judge for yourself: to what, if not to 
I coquetry,— which is, I confess, incomprehensible 
to me,— to what, if not to a desire to try how much 
power you still possess over me, can I attribute 
your . . I do not know what to call it • . . your 
persistence? Our paths have become so widely 
separated! I have forgotten everything, I have 
long ago lived down the pain of it all, I have be- 
come an entirely different man; you are married, 
happy, in appearance at least; you enjoy an en- 
viable position in society; why then, to what end, 
a renewal of acquaintance? What am I to you, 
what are you to me? We cannot understand each 
other now, we have absolutely nothing in common 

188 



I 



SMOKE 

now, either in the past or in the present! Espe- 
cially • • . especially in the past I " 

Litvinoff pronounced the whole of this speech 
hurriedly, abruptly, without turning his head. 
Irfna did not stir, and only from time to time, 
almost imperceptibly, extended her hands toward 
him. She seemed to be entreating him to stop and 
listen to her, and at his last words slightly bit her 
under lip, as though crushing down a sentiment 
of keen, swift injury. 

" Grig6ry Mikhaflovitch," she began at last, in 
a more composed voice, and retreated still further 
from the path, along which, now and then, people 



Litvinoff, in turn, followed her. 

" Grig6ry Mikhaflovitch, believe me: if I could 
have imagined that I still retained an atom of 
power over you, I would have been the first to 
avoid you. If I did not do so, if I made up my 
mind, in spite of ... of my past fault, to renew 
acquaintance with you, it was because . . • be- 
cause . . ." 

"Because?" inquired Litvinoff, almost 
roughly. 

"Because," replied Irina, with sudden force: 
— " because that society, that enviable position of 
which you speak, have become unbearable, insuf- 
ferable to me; because, on meeting you, a live 
man, after all those dead dolls— you were able to 
view specimens of them three days ago at the 

180 



SMOKE 

Vieux Chateau,— I rejoiced as at a well 
desert, but you call me a coquette, and 
me, and repulse me imder the pretext that 
was to blame toward you, and still more 
myself I " 

" You chose your own destiny, Irim 
lovna," said Litvinoff surlily, and still ^ 
turning his head. 

" I did, I did . . . and I do not comf 
have no right to complain," hastily said I 
whom Litvinoff 's very sternness affordec 
delight;—" I know that you must condei 
and I do not defend myself; I only wish 
plain to you my sentiment, I wish to convii 
that I am not disposed to coquet now. . I 
with you! Why, there is no sense in tha 
When I saw you, all that was good, all tl 
young in me, awoke . . . the time when 
not yet chosen my destiny, everything wh 
there in that bright zone, beyond the 
years. . . ." 

" But permit me, at last, Irina Pdvlovn 
far as I am aware, the bright zone in yo 
began precisely with the moment o 
parting. • ." 

Irina raised her handkerchief to her lips 

" What you say is very cruel, Grigoi 
khailovitch; but I cannot be angry with yo 
no, that was not a brilliant time; it was i 
my happiness that I quitted Moscow. Not 

140 



SMOKE 

stant, not one minute of happiness have I known 
. . . believe me, whatever you may have been told. 
If I had been happy, oould I talk with you as I 
am doing now? . . I repeat it, you do not know 
what those people are like. . Why, they under- 
stand nothing, sympathise with nothing, they 
have not even any minds, ni esprit, ni intelligence, 
but only cunning and tact; why, in reality, music, 
poetry, and art are alike unknown to them. . . 
You will say that I myself was fairly indifferent 
to all this; but not to that degree, Grigory Mi- 
khailovitch . . . not to that degree 1 It is not a 
fashionable woman whom you now see before 
j you. You have only to look at me, not a lioness 
I ... it seems that is what we are called • • • but 
!a poor, poor creature, who is really deserving of 
y compassion. Be not astonished at my words. • • 
I am not disposed to be proud now I I reach out 
my hand to you as a beggar, understand it, at 
last, as a beggar. . . I entreat alms," she added 
suddenly, in an involuntary, irrepressible im- 
pulse:—" I ask for alms, and you • • • •" 

Her voice failed her. Litvinoff raised his head 
and looked at Irfna; she was breathing rapidly, 
her lips were quivering. His heart suddenly be- 
gan to beat hard, and his feeling of wrath van- 
ished. 

"You say that our paths have parted," re- 
sumed Irina:— " I know you are marrying for 
love; you have the plan for your whole life al- 

141 



SMOKE 

ready drawn up; yes, it is so; but we have not be- 
come strangers to each other, 6rig6ry Mikhaflo^ 
vitch, we can still understand each otiier. Or do 
you suppose that I have become utterly stupid— 
that I have become utterly mired in this swamp? 
Akh, no, do not think that, please 1 Let me ease 
my soul, I beg of you, if only in the name of those 
by-gone days, if you are not bent on forgetting 
them. Let not our meeting have been in vain; 
that would be too bitter, and it Mrill not last long, 
in any case. . . I do not know how to express 
myself as I should; but do understand me, for I 
ask little, very little . . . only a trifle of happi- 
ness, only that you will not repulse me, that you 
will give me a chance to ease my souL • ." 

Irfna paused, tears resounded in her voice. She 
sighed and gazed at Litvinoff with a timid, rather 
sidelong, searching glance, and offered him her 
hand. • • 

Litvinoff slowly took that hand, and faintly 
pressed it. 

" Let us be friends," whispered Irfna. 

" Friends,'* repeated Litvfnoff thoughtfully. 

" Yes, friends . . . but if that is too great a 
demand, then let us be, at least, good acquain- 
tances. . . Let us not stand on ceremony— just 
as though nothing had ever happened. ^ • /' 

" As though nothing had ever happened . .'* 
repeated Litvinoff again.—" You just told me, 
Irina Pdvlovna, that I am not willing to forget 

142 



SMOKE 

by-gone days. . Well, and what if I cannot forget 
them? " 

A blissful smile flashed across Irina's face, and 
instantly vanished, making way for an anxious, 
almost terrified expression. 

" Do as I do, Grig6ry Mikhaflovitch: remem- 
ber only what is pleasant; but, above all, give me 
your word now, your word of honour. • •" 

" What about? " 

" Not to avoid me . . . not to grieve me need- 
lessly. . . Do you promise? tell me r* 

" Yes." 

" And you will banish all evil thoughts from 
your mind?" 

" Yes . . . but I still renounce the effort to 
understand you." 

" That is not necessary . . wait, however, and 
you will understand me. But you promise? " 

" I have already said: Yes." 

" Thanks. Observe that I have become accus- 
tomed to believe you. I shall expect you to-day 
or to-morrow; I shall not leave the house. But 
now I must leave you. The Duchess is walking 
in the avenue. . . She has seen me, and I cannot 
avoid going to her. . . Until we meet again. . . 
Give me your hand, vite^ vite. . Farewell for the 
present." 

And with a vigorous clasp of Litvinoff 's hand, 
Irina directed her steps toward a middle-aged 
person who was walking heavily along the sanded 

448 



SMOKE 

path, accompanied by two other ladies and a very 
good-looking lackey. 

'^ Ehj ban jour, ch^e madame'* said this per- 
son, while Irina respectfully courtesied before 
her.— '^ Comment aUez-vous aujourd^hui? Venez 
un pen avec moi."—^ Voire Aliesse a trop de 
bontS/' Irfna's insinuating voice could be heard 
in reply. 



IH 



XIV 

LiTViNOFF allowed the Duchess and all her suite 
to depart, and then emerged upon the avenue 
himself. He oould not give himself a clear ac- 
count of his sensations; he felt both ashamed and 
alarmed, and his self-love was flattered. . . The 
unexpected explanation with Irma had taken him 
unawares; her burning, hurried words had swept 
over him like a downpour of rain. " Queer peo- 
ple those society women,** he thought;—" there 's 
no coherence about them . . . and how the circle 
in which they live perverts th^oi, and the anoma- 
lousness of it they feel themselves 1 "... As a 
matter of fact, he did not think that at all, but 
was merely repeating mechanically those hack- 
neyed phrases, as though desirous thereby of rid- 
ding himself of other and more painful thoughts. 
He comprehended that it ill-befitted him to medi- 
tate seriously at present, that, in all probability, 
he would be obliged to censure himself: and he 
strolled slowly along, almost compelling himself 
to turn his attention to everything which he en- 
countered. . . All at once he found himself in 
front of a bench, perceived beside it some one's 
legs, ran his eyes up them. * . The legs belonged 

14& 



SMOKE 

to a man who was sitting on the bench and read- 
ing a newspaper; the man proved to be Potiigin. 
Litvfnoff gave vent to a slight exclamation. 
Potugin laid his paper on his knees and stared 
attentively, unsmilingly, at Litvinoff, and Lit- 
vfnoff also stared attentively and unsmilingly at 
Potugin. 

'' May I sit down beside you? '' he asked at 
last. 

" Pray, do. Only I give you warning; if you 
wish to enter into conversation with me you must 
{ not be offended— I 'm in the most misanthropic 
I frame of mind just now, and all objects present 
\ themselves to me in an exaggeratedly-evil light/' 
" That 's nothing, Soz6nt Ivanitdi," said Lit- 
vinoff, dropping down on the bench:—" it is even 
extremely opportune. . . But why has this mood 
come upon you? " 

" As a matter of fact, I ought not to be in a 
rage," began Potiigin.—" Here I have just been 
reading about the project for judicial reforms in 
Russia, and with genuine satisfaction I perceive 
that we have at last got some common sense, and 
no longer intend under the pretext of independ- 
ence there, of nationality or of originality, to 
tack a home-made tail on to pure, clear European 
logic; but, on the contrary, . . they are going to 
take the foreign thing which is good complete* 
That one concession in the affair of the peasants 
.was sufficient. . . Just try to get rid of com- 

146 



SMOKE 

munal tenure! . . Quite true, quite true, I ought 
not to be in a rage; but, to my misfortune, I have 
happened upon a self-made Russian— I have been 
talking with him, and those rough nuggets— bom 
geniuses, and self-taught folks Mrill worry me 
into my gravel" 

" What sort of a bom genius? " inquired Lit- 
vlnoff. 

" Why, that sort of a gentleman is running 
about, who fancies himself a gifted musician.— 
* I,* says he, ' of course am nothing; I 'm a cipher 
because I never had any education, but I possess 
incomparably more melodies and more ideas than 
Meyerbeer/ In the first place, I will remark: 
why were not you educated? and, in the second, 
not only Meyerbeer, but the meanest German 
flute-player, who modestly whistles his part in 
the meanest German orchestra, has twenty times 
more ideas than all our bom geniuses; only the 
flute-player keeps his ideas to himself, and does 
not thrust himself forward with them into the 
company of Mozarts and Haydns; but our Rus- 
sian genius gets out a little waltz or a little ro- 
mance, slap dash, and behold— there he is, hands 
thrust into his pockets, and a scornful curl on his 
mouth: ' I 'm a genius,' says he. And it 's just 
the same with painting and everywhere. How I 
detest those bom geniuses 1 Who does not know 
that people pride themselves upon them only in 
places where there is no real science which has 

J4T 



SMOKE 

been assimilated into blood and flesh, nor real art 
Is n't it time to file away in the archives this 
boastfulness, this vulgar rubbish, along with the 
familiar phrases, to the effect that among us, in 
Russia, no one dies of hunger, and that travelling 
by road is of the swiftest sort, and that we can 
kill everybody with a slap of our caps? They be- 
siege me with the giftedness of the Russian na- 
ture, with the instinct of genius, with Kulfbins.* 
But what sort of giftedness is it, gentlemen, for 
heavjen's sake? It is the babbling of a man half 
asleep, or a half -savage sagacity. Instinct! A 
pretty thing to brag about, truly! Take an ant 
in the forest, carry him off a verst away from his 
hill: he will find the way back home; a man can 
do nothing of the sort; what of that? is he lower 
than the ant? Instinct, be it ever so talented, is 
unworthy of man: reason— simple, sound, com- 
monplace reason — that 's our real fortune, our 
pride; reason never plays any such pranks; and 
that 's why everything is founded on it. But as 
for Kulibin, who, without knowing anything 
about mechanics, has constructed some extremely 
absurd clocks or other,— I would order those 
same clocks to be placed on a pillar of scorn; 
* come, see, good people,' I would say, * what you 
must not do.* Kulfbin is not to blame in the mat- 
ter, but his work is worthless. To praise Teltish- 

1 A character in Ostr6v8ky*s famous drama, ** The Thunderstorm ; ** 
a self-taught genius of a cloclonaker.— TWitslatqb. 

148 



SMOKE 

kin, because he climbed the spire of the Ad- 
miralty, for his daring and skill— that is permis- 
sible; why should not he be praised? But it is 
not proper to shout out something to the effect, 
* Has n't he made a laughing-stock of the for- 
eign architects? and what 's the good of them? 
they only take your money/ . . He did not 
make a laughing-stock of them at all: afterward 
they were obliged to erect a scaffolding around 
the spire, and repair it in the ordinary way. For 
God's sake, do not encourage such ideas among 
us in Russia, as that anything can be attained 
without teaching! No; though you be as wise 
as Solomon, yet learn, learn from the alphabet 
upl Otherwise, sit down, and hang your tail 
between your legsl Faugh! I've even got 
heated!" 

Potiigin took off his hat, and fanned himself 
with his handkerchief. 

''Russian art," he began again:— '' Russian 
art! . • I know all about Russian limitations, 
and I know Russian impotency also, but as for 
Russian art, excuse me, but I have never met with 
it. For twenty years in succession we bowed 
down before that bloated cipher, BriuUoff, and 
imagined, if you please, that a school had been 
founded among us, and that it was even destined 
to be better than all the others. . . Russian art, 
ha-ha.ha!ho-ho!" 

" But permit me, Sozont Ivdnitch," remarked 
J49 



SMOKE 

Litvfnoff.— " That means that you do not recog- 
nise Glinka either? " 

Potdgin scratched behind his ear. 

" Exceptions, you know, only prove the rule, 
but even in this case we could not get along with- 
out bragging! If you were to say, for example, 
that GUnka really was a remarkable musician, 
who was prevented by circumstances, external 
and internal, from becoming the founder of the 
Russian opera, no one would dispute you; but 
no ; how is that possible 1 It inunediately beccmies 
necessary to promote him to be commander-in- 
chief, chief marshal of the Court in the depart- 
ment of music, and rob other nations by the way: 
* they have nothing of the sort, if you please,' and 
then you have pointed out to you some * mighty ' 
home-bred genius, whose compositions are noth- 
ing more than a sorry imitation of second-class 
foreign workers— second-class, precisely that: 
they are more easily imitated. Nothing of the 
sort. Oh, wretched fools and savages, for whom 
there exists no heritage of art, and artists— some- 
thing in the style of Rappeau: as much as to say, 
a foreigner can lift six puds with one hand, but 
our man can lift twelve 1 Nothing of the sort! 
Let me inform you that I cannot get the follow- 
ing memory out of my head. This spring I vis- 
ited the Crystal Palace, in the suburbs of London; 
in that palace, as you are aware, there is some- 
thing in the nature of an exhibition of everything 

150 



SMOKE 

to which man's inventiveness has attained,— the 
i encyelopeedia of humanity, it must he called. 
Well, sir, I walked and walked past all those 
madiines and implements, and statues of great 
men ; and all the while I was thinking: if a decree 
were issued to the effect that, together with the 
, disappearance from the face of the earth of any 
'.nation, everything which that nation had in- 
I vented should immediately vanish from the Crys- 
tal Palace,— our dear mother. Orthodox Russia, 
might sink down to the nethermost hell, and not 
a single tack, not a single pin, would he disturbed, 
. the dear creature: everything would remain quite 
calmly in its place, because even the samovar, 
and linden-bast slippers, and the shaft-arch, and 
the knout— those renowned products of ours— 
were not invented by us. It would not be pos- 
sible to try a similar experiment with the Sand- 
wich Islands even; their inhabitants have in- 
vented some sort of boats and spears: visitors 
would notice their absence. That is calumny! 
that is too harsh— you may say. . . But I say: 
in the first place, I do not know how to censure 
with a grumble; in the second, it is evident that 
no one can make up his mind to look not merely 
the devil, but himself, straight in the eye, and it 
is not the children only, with us, who like to be 
lulled to sleep. Our ancient inventions were 
brought to us from the East, our new ones we 
have dragged over, after a fashion, from the 

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West, and yet we continue to chatter about Inde- 
pendent Russian art! Some daring persons have 
even discovered a Russian science: *with us, if 
you please, twice two make four, but somehow it 
comes out in a more dashing way/ '* 

" But stay, Sozont Ivdnitch,'* exclaimed Lit- 
vinoff.— " Stay! Surely, we send something to 
the International Expositions, and Europe pro- 
cures some supplies from us." 

" Yes, raw material, raw products. And ob- 
serve, my dear sir: our raw material is chiefly 
good, only because it depends upon other, and 
very evil circumstances: our bristles, for exam- 
ple, are large and stiff merely because the pigs 
are poor; our hides are firm and thick, because 
the cows are thin; our tallow is fat, because it is 
boiled half and half with the beef. . . However, 
why am I dilating to you about this? Surely you, 
who occupy yourself with technology, must know 
all these things better than I do. People say 
to me: * inventiveness! Russian inventiveness!* 
There are our landed proprietors complaining 
bitterly, and suffering loss, because no satisfac- 
tory g^ain-dryer exists, which would relieve them 
bf the necessity of placing their sheaves of grain 
in the kiln, as in the days of Rurik: those kilns 
are frightfully detrimental, no better than lin- 
den-bast slippers, or bast mats, and they are con- 
stantly burning down. The landed proprietors 
complain, and still the grain-dryer does not make 

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its appearance. And why not? Because the for- 
eigner does not need it; he grinds his grain raw, 
consequently does not bother about inventing 
one, and we • . . are not capable of doing itl 
Not capable of doing it— and that 's the end of 
the matter! You might try itl I vow, that from 
this day forth, as soon as a bom genius or a 
self-taught man drops down on me, I shall say 
to him—* halt, my respected sirl and where 's that 
grain-dryer ? Hand it over 1 ' But how can they ? 
We are capable of picking up an old patched 
shoe, which long ago fell from the foot of Saint- 
Simon or Fourier, and placing it respectfully on 
our head, treating it like a holy thing; or of scrib- 
bling an article about the historical and contem- 
porary significance of the proletariat in the prin- 
cipal cities of France— that also we can do; but I 
once tried to suggest to a writer and political 
economist, after the fashion of your Mr. Voroshi- 
loff, to name to me twenty towns in that same 
France, and do you know the result? The result 
was, that the political economist, in despair, 
finally mentioned, among the towns of France, 
Mont Fermeil, probably recalling Paul de 
Kock's romance. And the following experience 
occurred to me. One day I was making my way, 
with gun and dog, through the forest. . ." 

" And are you a sportsman? " inquired Litvf- 
noff. 

" I shoot a little. I was making my way tp 



SMOKE 

a marsh in search of quail; other sportsmen had 
told me about that marsh. I looked, and in the 
midst of a field, in front of a cottage, sat a m^-* 
chant's clerk, fresh and lusty as a husked nut,— 
sat there grinning, I did not know at what. And 
I asked him: ' Where is the marsh,' said I, * and 
are there quail in it? '— * Certainly, certainly,' he 
drawled slowly, and with an expression as though 
I had presented him with a ruble; ' with great 
pleasure, sir: it 's a first-class marsh ; but as for all 
sorts of wild birds— my Grodl— there 's a capital 
abundance of them als».' I went ofip, but I not 
only did not find a single wild bird,— the marsh 
itself had dried up long before. Now tell me, 
if you please, why does the Russian man lie? 
Why does the political economist lie, and about 
wild-fowl, to boot? " 

Litvinoff made no reply, and only sighed sym- 
pathetically. 

" And start a conversation with that political 
economist," restuned Potiigin:— " about the most 
difficult problems of social science, only, in gen- 
eral terms, without facts . . phrrrr! and the bird 
will soar off like an eagle! But I once succeeded 
in catching a bird of that sort: I employed a good 
visible bait, as you will see. We were talking 
with one of our present-day *new youngsters,' 
about divers questions, as they express it. Well, 
sir, he flew into a great rage, as is usual; among 
other things, he rejected marriage, with truly 

154, 



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diildish obstinacy. I suggested to him argu- 
ments of one sort and another ... it was like 
knocking my head against a walll I saw that it 
was impossible to approach him from that quar- 
ter. And suddenly a happy thought flashed 
across me! * Permit me to inform you,' I began, 
—one must always address the * minnows ' with 
respect—* that I am amazed at you, my dear sir; 
you are interested in the natural sciences— and 
hitherto you have not noted the fact that all car- 
nivorous and rapacious animals, birds and beasts, 
all those who are obliged to sally forth in search 
of prey, and toil over procuring live food for 
themselves and their ofiPspring . . . and, of course, 
you reckon man in the list of such animals?'— * Of 
course I do,' replied the * minnow ': * man, after 
all, is nothing but a carnivorous animal.'—' And 
a rapacious one,' I added.— * And a rapacious 
one,' he assented.—* That is very well said,' I as- 
sented. ' So, then, I am amazed that you have 
not observed that all such animals stick to mo- 
nogamy? ' The new youngster shuddered.— 
* How so? '— * Why, just so. Recall the lion, the 
wolf, the fox, the vulture, the hawk; and be so 
good as to consider how could they act otherwise? 
The two of you can hardly feed the children, as it 
is.'— My *minnow' fell to thinking.— * Well,' says 
he, ' in that case, the beast is no model for man.' 
— * Then I called him an idealist, and how angrj^ 
he became 1 He almost wept. I was obliged to 

13o 



SMOKE 

soothe him» and to promise him that I would not 
betray him to his conu*ades. Is it a small thing 
to deserve the name of idealist? And therein lies 
the joke, that the present yomig generation has 
made a mistake in its calculations. It has imag- 
ined that the day of old-fashioned, dark, mider- 
gromid toil is past, that it was all well enough for 
their aged fathers to dig like tortoises; but for us 
such a role is humiliating, if you please, we will 
act in the open air, we will act. . . The dear in- 
nocents I and even your children will not act; and 
would n*t you like to go back to the cave, to the 
cave again, in the footprints of the old men? " 

A brief silence ensued. 

" I, my dear sir, am of this opinion," Potiigin 
began again:—" that we are indebted to civilisa- 
tion not alone for knowledge, art, and law, but for 
the fact that even the very sentiment of beauty 
and poetry is developed and enters into force un- 
der the influence of that same civilisation; and 
that so-called national, ingenuous, unconscious, 
creative genius is stuff and nonsense. Even in 
Homer traces are already discernible of a refined 
and wealthy civilisation; even love is ennobled 
thereby. The Slavyanophils would. gladly hang 
me for such a heresy if they were not such ten- 
der-hearted creatures; but, nevertheless, I insist 
upon my view— and however much they may re- 
gale me with Madame Kokhan6vsky and * The 
Hive at Rest,* I will not inhale that trinle ea^rait 

156 



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de mougik russe; for I do not belong to tHe high- 
est society, which finds it indispensably necessary, 
from time to time, to assure itself that it has not 
become completely Frenchified, and for whose 
special use that literature en cuir de Ruerie is 
composed. Try the experiment of reading to the 
common people— the genuine populace— the 
most incisive, the most ^ national ' passages from 
the * Hive '; they will think you are conununi- 
cating some new plot about usury or hard drink- 
ing. I repeat it, without civilisation there is no 
poetry. Would you like to obtain an illustration 
of the unpoetic ideal of the uncivilised Russian 
man? Open our epic songs, our legends. I am 
not talking now about the fact that love always 
is represented in them as the result of witchcraft, 
of sorcery— is produced by drinking * a love-phil- 
tre,' and is even called soldering, chilblain; nei- 
ther am I referring to the fact that our so-called 
epic literature alone, among all the others, Euro- 
pean and Asiatic,— alone, observe,— has not pre- 
sented—unless you count Vdnka-Tanka as such 
—a single typical pair of loving human beings; 
that the paladin of Holy Russia always begins his 
aoquaintancewith his fated affinity by beating her 
'mercilessly' on her white body— whence 'also 
the feminine sex lives swollen up '; of all that I 
will not speak; but permit me to direct your at- 
tention to that elegant specimen of youth, the 
jeune premier, as he was depicted by the imagi- 

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nation of the primitive, uncivilised Slavonian* 
Here, be pleased to note, comes the leading lover; 
he has made himself a nice little cloak of marten- 
fur, stitched along all the seams: a belt of the 
seven silks is girt about him just under the arm- 
pits, and the collar of the cloak is made higher 
than his head; from the front his ruddy face, 
from the back his white neck is not visible, his cap 
rests on one ear, and on his feet are morocco 
boots, with awl-like toes, his heels are pointed,— 
around the little tips an egg might roll; under 
the high heels a sparrow might fly and flutter.— 
And the dashing young fellow walks with a short, 
mincing step, that famous 'flaunting' gait, 
wherewith our Aldbiades, Tchurflo Plenk6vitdi, 
produced such a wonderful, almost medicinal ef- 
fect on the old women and the young maidens, 
that same gait wherewith, down to the present 
day, our waiters, limbered in every joint, that 
cream, that flower of Russian foppishness, that 
nee plus ultra of Russian taste, trip about in so in* 
imitable a manner. I am not saying this in jest: 
dawdling dash is our artistic ideal. Well, is the 
picture true ? Does it contain many materials for 
painting, for sculpture? And the beauty who 
fascinates the young men, and whose * blood in 

her face is as though in that of a hare?' 

But, apparently, you are not listening to me? " 

Litvinofi^ started. He really had not heard 
what Potugin had been saying to him: he had 

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been thinking, importiinatiely thinking about 
Irina, about his last meeting with her. . . 

" Excuse me, Sozont Ivanitch,'* he began:— 
" but I want to put my former question to you 
once more, about . . . about Madame Ratmf- 

Potugin folded his newspaper, and thrust it 
into his pocket. 

. " Again you wish to know how I became ac- 
quainted with her? " 

" No, not that ; I should like to hear your opin- 
ion •• . about the part which she has played in 
Petersburg. As a matter of fact, what was that 
part?" 

" But I really do not know what to say to you, 
Grig6ry Mikhaflovitch. I became pretty inti- 
mately acquainted with Madame Ratmfroff 

but quite accidentally, and not for long. I have 
never taken a peep into her society, and what 
took place there has remained unknown to me. 
People have chattered somewhat in my presence, 
but you know scandal reigns anuxig us not in 
democratic circles only. Moreover, I never had 
the curiosity to inquire. But I perceive," he 
added, after a brief pause:— "that she interests 
you." 

" Yes; we have had a couple of pretty frank 
conversations. Still, I ask myself: Is she sin- 
cere?" 

Potugin dropped his eyes.—" When she gets 
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carried away— she is sincere, like all passicKiate 

women. Pride also sometimes keeps her from 

lying." 

" But is she proud? I should suppose, rather 

—that she is capricious." 

" As proud as the devil; but that 's nothing." 
'' It seems to me that she sometimes exagger- 

'' That 's nothing, either; she is sincere, all the 
same. Well, and speaking in general, from 
whom would you care to have 4he truth? The 
very best of those young noble ladies are corrupt 
to the very marrow of their bones." 

" But, Soz6nt Ivanitch, call to mind, did not 
you call yourself her friend? Was it not you 
who, almost by force, took me to her? " 

" What of that? She asked me to get you: 
why not? But I really am her friend. She is 
not devoid of good qualities: she is very kind— 
that is to say, generous,— that is to say, she gives 
to others that which she does not need herself. 
However, you certainly must know her quite as 
well as I do." 

'' I used to know Irina Pdvlovna ten years 
ago; but since then ..." 

" Ekh, Grigory Mikhailovitch, what are you 
saying? Do people's characters change? As they 
are in the cradle, so they are in the grave. Or, 
perhaps . . . ."—Here Potugin bent still lower; 

16Q 



SMOKE 

— " perhaps you are afraid of falling into her 
hands? That really . • • well, you cannot avoid 
falling into some one's hands." 

Litvinoff laughed in a constrained way.— 
" You think so? " 

" You cannot avoid it. Man is weak, woman 
is strong, chance is all-powerful; it is difficult to 
reconcile one's self to a colourless existence, it is 
impossible wholly to forget one's self . . . but 
yonder is beauty and sympathy— yonder is 
warmth and light,— why resist? And you run to 
it like a child to its niu-se. Well, and afterward, 
of course, there is cold, and darkness, and empti- 
ness • • as is proper. And the end of it is, that 
you will grow unused to everjrthing, you will 
cease to understand anything. At first you will 
not understand how it is possible to love; and 
afterward you will not understand how it is pos- 
sible to live." 

Litvfnoff looked at Potugin, and it seemed to 
him that never before had he met a more solitarv, 
a more deserted .... a more unhappy man. 
On this occasion he was not timid, he did not 
stand on ceremony; all despondent and pale, with 
his head on his breast, and his hands on his knees, 
he sat motionless, and merely smiled a melan- 
choly smile. Litvinoff felt sorry for this poor, 
queer, splenetic fellow. 

" Irina PAvlovna mentioned to me, among 
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other things," he began in a low tone,—" one of 
her intimate friends, whom she called, I think, 
Madame Byelsky or Dolsky. . •" 

Potugin cast his sorrowful eyes on Litvi- 
noff. 

" Ahl " he exclaimed in a dull tone. . . " She 
mentioned her . . . well, and what of it? How- 
ever," he added, with an imnatural sort of yawn: 
" I must go home— to dinner. I ask your 
pardon." 

He sprang up from the bench and moved rap- 
idly away before Litvinoff could manage to utter 
a word. . • His pity gave way to vexation— vexa- 
tion at himself, of course. Every sort of indiscre- 
tion was unnatural to him; he had wished to ex^ 
press his sympathy for Potugin and the result had 
been something in the nature of an awkward hint. 
With secret dissatisfaction at heart, he returned 
to his hotel. 

" Corrupt to the very marrow of their bones,*' 
he thought some time later ..." but proud as 
the devil I She, that woman, who is almost on 
her knees before me, proud? proud, not ca- 
pricious? " 

Litvfnoff tried to expel Irina's image from his 
head, but did not succeed. For that very reason, 
also, he did not recall his affianced bride; he felt 
to-day that image would not surrender its place. 
He resolved to await the solution of all this 
" strange affair," without troubling himself fur- 

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ther; the solution could not be lonj^ delayed, and 
LitvlnofF had not the slightest doubt that it 
would be of the most abundant and natural sort. 
So he thought, but, in the meantime, it was not 
Irina's image alone which would not leave him— 
all her words recurred in turn to his memory. 

A waiter brought him a note: it was from 
Irina. 

^^ If you have nothing to do this evening, come : I shall 
not be alone ; I have guests — and you will have a closer 
view of us, of our society. I am very anxious that you 
should see them : I have a premonition that they will dis- 
play themselves in all their glory. And you ought to 
know what sort of air I breathe. Come ; I shall be glad 
to see you, and you are not bored [Irina meant to say : 
you will not be bored]. Prove to me that our explana- 
tion of to-day has rendered impossible any misunderstand- 
ing between us. Faithfully yours, I.*'*' 

LitvinofF put on his dress suit and a white tie, 
and went to Irina's. " All this is of no impor- 
tance," he kept repeating to himself, in thought, 
on the way,—" but take a look at them . . . why 
should not I take a look? It is curious." A few 
days previously these same people had aroused 
in him a different feeling: they had aroused his 
indignation. 

He walked with hurried steps, with his hat 
pulled far down over his eyes, with a constrained 
smile on his lips, and Bamb^eff, who was sitting 



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in front of Weber's Cafe, and pointed him out 
from a distance to Voroshfloff and Pishtchdlkin, 
exclaimed enthusiastically: "Do you see that 
man? He 's stonel He 's a rockll He 's 
granitelll" 



JIM 



XV 

LnriNOFP found quite a number of guests at 
Inna's. In a corner, at the card-table, sat three 
of the generals of the picnic: the fat, the irrita- 
ble, and the condescending ones. They were 
playing whist with a dummy, and there are no 
words in human language wherewith to express 
the pompousness with which they dealt, took 

tricks, played clubs, played diamonds 

just like statesmen I Leaving to plebeians, ctwx 
bourgeoiSj the comments and adages customary 
during a game, the generals uttered only the most 
indispensable words; but the fat general per- 
mitted himself between two deals to say, with 
energetic distinctness: '^ Ce salani as de pique I '' 
Among the visitors Litvinoff recognised the 
ladies who had taken part in the picnic; but there 
were others also whom he had not hitherto seen. 
One was so old that it seemed as though she must 
collapse immediately: she was wriggling her 
dreadful bare, dark-grey shoulders about,— and 
covering her mouth with her fan; she was cast- 
ing sidelong glances at Ratmiroff, with her al- 
ready quite dead eyes; he vras paying court to 
her; she was greatly respected in high society 

165 



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as the last Maid of Honour of the Empress 
Katherine II. By the window, dressed as a shep- 
herdess, sat Countess Sh., " the Tzarftza of the 
Wasps," surrounded by young men; among 
them, distinguished by his arrogant bearing, his 
perfectly flat skull, and his soullessly-brutal ex- 
pressimi of countenance, worthy of a Khan of 
Bokhard or of a Roman Heliogabahis, was Pfni- 
koff, famous for his wealth and his good looks; 
another lady, also a Countess, and known by the 
diminutive name of Lise, was chatting with a 
long-haired blond, pale " spirit-medium " ; beside 
them stood a gentleman, also pale and long- 
haired, sneering significantly: this gentleman was 
also a believer in spiritualism, but busied himself, 
in addition, with prophecy, and, on the founda- 
tion of the Apocalypse and the Talmud, foretold 
all sorts of remarkable events; not oiie of these 
events took place,— but he was not discomfited, 
and went on prophesying. That same heaven- 
bom genius who had aroused such ire in Potugin 
had placed himself at the piano; he was striking 
chords in an absent-minded way, d^une main dis^ 
traite, and carelessly gazing about him. Irina 
was sitting on the divan between Prince Koko 
and Madame X., formerly renowned as the 
beauty and wit of All-Russia, and who had long 
ago turned into a worthless wrinkled mushroom, 
whence exhaled an odoiu* of fast-tide oil and 
putrid poison. On catching sight of Litvfnoff, 

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Irina blushed, rose, and when he approached her, 
pressed his hand warmly. She wore a black crape 
gown, with bately visible gold embellishments; 
her shoulders gleamed with a dull whiteness, and 
her face, which was also pale beneath the momen- 
tary wave of crimson which had swept over it, 
breathed forth the triumph of beauty, and not of 
beauty only: a secret, almost mocking joy, 
sparkled in her half -closed eyes, quivered around 
her lips and nostrils. . . 

Ratmiroff approached Litvinoff, and after ex- 
changing with him the customary greetings, 
which were not, however, accompanied by his ha- 
bitual playfulness, presented him to two or three 
ladies: to the aged ruin, to the Empress of the 
Wasps, to Countess Liza. . . They received him 
with a tolerable amount of graciousness. Litvi- 
noff did not belong to their set • • . but he was 
not ill-looking, even very far from it, and the 
expressive features of his youthful face aroused 
their attention. Only he did not understand how 
to rivet this attention on himself; he had grown 
disused to society, and felt somewhat embar- 
rassed, and then, too, the fat general had fixed his 
eyes on him. "Ahal the civilian! the free- 
thinker!" that immovable, heavy glance seemed to 
say : " so he has crawled into our society ; please let 
me kiss your hand," says he. Irina came to Lit- 
vmoff 's rescue. She managed matters so cleverly 
that he found himself in a corner, near the door, 

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a little behind her. When she addressed him she 
was obliged every time to turn toward him, and 
every time he admired the beautiful curve of her 
gleaming neck he inhaled the delicate perfume 
of her hair. The expression of profound and 
silent gratitude never left her face: he could not 
but admit that it was precisely gratitude which 
was expressed by those smiles, those glances, and 
he also began to seethe all over with the same 
sentiment, and he felt ashamed, yet found it 
sweet and painful • . . and at the same time 
she seemed constantly desirous of saying: "Well? 
What do you think of this?'* This wordless 
question became audible to Litvinoff with espe- 
cial clearness every time any of those present 
uttered or perpetrated a stupidity, and this hap- 
pened more than once in the course of the even- 
ing. Once, even, she could not contain herself, 
and laughed aloud. 

Countess Liza, a very superstitious lady and 
inclined to everything extraordinary, after hav- 
ing talked her fill to the light-haired medium 
about Hume, table-tipping, self -playing accor- 
deons, and the like, wound up by asking him 
whether any animals existed upon whom mag- 
netism produced an effect. 

" One such animal exists, at any rate,'* re- 
marked Prince Kok6 from a distance.—" You 
know Milan6vsky, I believe? They put him to 
sleep in my presence, and he even snored, ai, ai! " 

168 



SMOKE 

" You are very malicious, mon prince; I 
am talking about real animals, je parle des 
bStesr 

'^ Mais moi aussi, madame, je parle d'une 
bSte. . .*' 

" There are real animals also," interposed the 
spiritualist;— " for example— crabs; they are 
very nervous, and easily fall into a cataleptic 
state/' 

The Countess was amazed.—" What? Crabs I 
Is it possible? Akh, that is extremely curious 1 
How I should like to see itl Monsieur Liizhin," 
she added, addressing a young man with a stony 
face, such as new dolls have, and stony collar (he 
was famed for having wet that same face and 
collar with dashes of Niagara and the Nubian 
Nile, but he remembered nothing about all his 
travels, and loved only Russian puns ....), 
"Monsieur Luzhin, be so good as to get us a 
crab." 

Monsieur Luzhin grinned.—" A live one or 
only a lively one? " he inquired. 

The Countess did not understand him.— ''Mais 
oui, a crab," she repeated, '' une Screvisse/^ 

" What— what 's the meaning of this?— a 
crab? a crab? " interposed Countess Sh. sternly. 
The absence of Monsieur Verdier irritated her: 
she could not understand why Irma had not in- 
vited that most charming of Frenchmen. The 
ruin, who had long ago ceased to understand any- 

169 



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things— in addition to which, deafness had seized 
upon her,— only waggled her head. 

'' Out, oui, votis aUez voir. Monsieur Luzhin, 
plea3e . . . ." 

The young traveller bowed, left the room, and 
speedily returned. A waiter followed him, and 
grinning to the full extent of his mouth, bore a 
platter whereon was visible a large black crab. 

^' Void, madame/' exclaimed Luzhin ;—" now 
you can set about the operation on the crab/ Ha, 
ha, ha! " (Russians are always the first to laugh 
at their own witticisms.) —" He, he, he! " echoed 
Prince Koko, in the quality of a patriot and 
patron of all national products. 

(We beg the reader not to feel astonished and 
not to get angry: who can answer for hindself, 
that, when seated in the parterre of the Alexan- 
drinsky Theatre, and invaded by its atmosphere, 
he will not perpetrate even a worse pun?) 

" Mercij merci/* said the Countess.—'' AUona, 
allons. Monsieur Fox, montrez-nous fa/' 

The waiter placed the platter on a small round 
table. A slight movement ensued among the 
guests; several necks were outstretched; only the 
generals at the card-table preserved the serene 
\ solemnity of their pose. The medium rumpled 
up his hair, frowned, and approaching the table, 
began to make passes with his hands in the air: 
the crab bristled up, drew back, and elevated its 

^Tbe word also means canotr in Russian, •*-TiUK8LAio&« 

170 



SMOKE 

claws. The medium repeated' and quickened his 
motions: the crab bristled as before. 

'' Mcds que doit-elle done fcdre? '* inquired the 
Countess. 

'' EUe dod rester immobile et se dresser svr sa 
quiou/^ replied Mr. Fox, with a strong American 
accent, convulsively agitating his fingers over the 
platter; but the magnetism did not act, the crab- 
continued to move about. The medium an- 
nounced that he was not at his best, and retreated 
from the table with a dissatisfied aspect. The 
Countess undertook to console him, asserting that 
similar failures sometimes happened, even with 
Monsieur Hume. . .Prince Kok6 confirmed 
her words. The expert in the Apocalypse and 
the Talmud stole up to the table on the sly, and 
poking his fingers swiftly, but violently, in the 
direction of the crab, also tried his luck, but with- 
out success: no symptoms of catalepsy mani- 
fested themselves. Then the waiter was smn- 
moned, and ordered to remove the crab, which 
command he obeyed, grinning to the full capacity 
of his mouth, as before ; he could be heard to snort 
outside the door. ... In the kitchen, later on> 
there was a great deal of laughter iiber diese Bus- 
sen. The bom genius had continued to strike 
chords during the whole time of the experiment 
with the crab, keeping to minor tones, because, 
you know, no one could tell what would prove 
effectual in that case,— then the bom genius 

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SMOKE 

played his inevitable waltz, and, of course, re- 
ceived the most flattering approval. Carried 
away by the spirit of emulation, Count X., our 
incomparable dilettante (see Chapter I), "re- 
cited" a chansonette of his own invention, stolen 
entire from Offenbach. Its playful refrain on 
the words ''Quel ceuf? quel hceuff made the 
heads of almost all the ladies roll to right and to 
left; one even moaned gently, and the irresistible, 
inevitable " Charmant! charmant! ** flitted across 
every one's mouth. Irina exchanged a glance 
with Litvfnoff , and again that mysterious, mock- 
ing expression hovered about her lips. . . . But 
it came more powerfully into action a little later, 
—it even assumed a malevolent cast,— when 
Prince Koko, that representative and defender 
of the interests of the nobility, took it into his 
head to set forth his views to that same medium, 
and, as a matter of course, immediately made use 
of his famous phrase about the shock to property 
in Russia, in which connection, incidentally, de- 
mocracy caught it. The American blood in the 
medium made itself felt ; he began to argue. The 
Prince, as was fitting, immediately began to 
shout, at the top of his voice, in place of proofs 
incessantly repeating: '' C'est abntrdel cela na 
pas le sens commun!** The wealthy Finikoff 
began to utter impertinences, without stopping 
to think to whom they applied; the Talmudist set 
up a squeak; even Countess Sh. took to rattling. 

172 



SMOKE 

... In short, there arose ahnost identically the 
same detestable uproar as at Gubaryoff's; only, 
in this case, there were no beer and tobacco-smoke, 
i\ and all present were better dressed. Ratmiroff. 
endeavoured to restore silence (the generals had, 
expressed dissatisfaction, an exclamation from' 
Boris had made itself audible: '' Encore cette sa- 
tanie politique !**) y but the effort proved fruit- 
less ; and a dignitary who was present, one of the 
softly-penetrating sort, on undertaking to pre-^ 
sent le resumS de la question en peu de mots, suf- 
fered defeat; it is true that he so mumbled and 
repeated himself, so evidently did not know how, 
either to hear or answer objections, and so in- 
dubitably did not himself know precisely in what 
la question consisted, that no other issue could 
have been expected; and Irina, too, urged on the 
wranglers on the sly, and hounded them one upon 
the other, constantly glancing at Litvinoff , and 
nodding her head slightly at him. • . And he sat 
there as though bewitched, heard nothing, and 
only waited for those magnificent eyes to flash 
upon him once again, for that pale, tender, mis- 
diievous, charming face to flit once more across 
his vision. . . The end of it was that the ladies 
rebelled, and demanded that the dispute should 
cease. . Ratmfroff invited the dilettante to re- 
peat his chansonette, and the bom genius played 
his waltz again. . • 

Litvfnoif remained imtil after midnight, and 
173 



SMOKE 

took his departure later than all the others. The 
conversation had touched upon many topics dur- 
ing the course of the evening, sedulously avoiding 
everything which was in the shghtest degree in- 
teresting; the generals, after they had finished 
their majestic game, had majestically joined in 
it: the influence of these statesmen immediately 
made itself felt. A conversation was in progress 
about the notorieties of the Varisian demi-monde, 
with whose names and talents every one appeared 
to be intimately acquainted, about Sardou's last 
play, about About's romance, about Patti in 
** Traviata/' Some one suggested that they play 
at " secretary," au secretaire: but this was not a 
success. The replies were insipid, and not devoid 
of grammatical errors; the fat general told how 
he, on one occasion, in answer to the questidh, 
Qvfest ce que Vamxmr? had replied: Une coUque 
remontie au cceur, and immediately began to 
laugh with his wooden laugh; the ruin, with a 
sweeping gesture, tapped him with her fan on 
the arm; a bit of whitewash fell off of her fore- 
head at this vigorous gesture. The dried mush- 
room undertook to recall the Slavonic princi- 
palities and the indispensability of an Orthodox 
propaganda beyond the Danube, but finding no 
echo, began to hiss, and withdrew into the back- 
ground. In fact, they talked more about Hume 
than about anything else; even the "Empress 
of the Wasps" narrated how hands had cyept 

174 



SMOKE 

over h^r, and how she had seen them, and 
had put her own ring on one of them. In truth, 
Irfna triumphed: even if Litvfnoff had paid 
more attention to what wias being said around 
him, still he would not have carried away a 
single sincere word, a single intelligent thought, 
or a single new fact out of all that incoherent 
and lifeless chatter. No enthusiasm was audi- 
ble even in the cries and exclamations; even in 
the reproaches no passion was to be felt: only 
from time to time, from beneath the mask of 
pseudo-civic indignation, pseudo-scornful indif- 
ference, did the fear of possible losses give forth 
a shriek, and a few names, which posterity will 
not forget, were uttered with gnashings of teeth. 
. . . And not one drop of living current beneath 
all this rubbish and litter I What ancient stuff, 
what useless nonsense, what insipid trifles ab- 
sorbed all those brains, those souls, and absorbed 
them not on that one evening only, not only 
in society, but at home, at all hours, every day, 
in all the breadth and depth of their beings I 
And what ignorance, in conclusion! What 
lack of comprehension of everjrthing upon 
which human life is fouiided, by which it is 
adorned 1 

As she took leave of Litvinoff , Irina slightly 
pressed his hand, and significantly whispered: 
" Well, what do you think of it? Are you satis- 
fied? Have you sufiiciently admired? Is it 

175 . . . - 



SMOKE 

nice? " He made her no reply, tut merely Bowe3 
silently and low. 

When she was left alone with her husband 
Irina was on the point of retiring to her bedroom. 
. . He stopped her. 

'' Je vous at heaucoup admirie ce soir^ ma- 
dame/^— he said, as he lighted a cigarette, and 
leaned his elbows on the mantelpiece:— ''rott* 
vous Hes parfaitement moquie de nous tons/' 

''Pas plus cette fois-ci que les autres/'—she 
replied indijfferently. 

" How do you wish me to understand that? " 
—inquired RatmirojQP. 

" As you please." 

"H'm. C*est cioir.^'— Ratmiroff cautiously, 
in a feline way, knocked the ashes from his cig- 
arette with the long nail of his little finger.^ 
" Yes, by the wayl That new acquaintance of 
yours— what's his name? . . . Mr. Litvinojff— 
must enjoy the reputation of being a very clever 
man." 

At LitvfnofT's name Irina turned swiftly 
round. 

" What do you mean? " 

The general grinned. 

" He never utters a word; . . . evidently, he 's 
afraid of compromising himself." 

Irina laughed also, only not at all in the same 
way as her husband. 

" It is better to hold one's tongue than to talk 
• • • . as some people do." 

01T« 



SMOKE 

^^Attrapit ^^— said Ratmfroff, with feigned hu- 
mility.—" Jesting aside, he has a very interesting 
face. Such a . . . concentrated expression . . 
and, altogether, a bearing. . . . Yes."— The 
general adjusted his necktie, and throwing back 
his head, scrutinised his own moustache.—" I as- 
-sume that he is a republican, after the fashion 
of that other friend of yours, Mr. Potiigin; he 's 
another of the clever men who are taciturn." 

Irina's brows slowly elevated themselves above 
the widely-opened, brilliant eyes, and her lips be- 
came compressed, almost contorted. 

" What is your object in saying this, Valeridn 
Vladimiritch?"— she remarked, as though sym- 
pathetically.—" You are only wasting your 
powder on the empty air. . . We are not in Rus- 
sia, and no one is listening to us." 

Ratmfroff writhed. 

" That is not my opinion only, Irina Pdv- 
lovna,"— he began, with a voice that, somehow, 
seemed suddenly to have become guttural:— 
" others also think that that gentleman looks like 
a carbonaro. . ." 

" Really? And who are those others? " 

" Why, Boris, for example. . ." 

" What? And that fellow must needs express 
his opinion?" 

Irfna shrugged her shoidders, as though shud- 
dering from cold, and softly passed the tips of 
her fingers over them. 

That fellow . . . yc^, that fellow . . that 

in 



C( 



SMOKE 

fellow. Permit me to inform you, Irfna Piv- 
lovna, you appear to be losing your temper; and 
you know yourself that the person who loses his 
temper . . . /' 

" I am losing my temper? For what reason? " 

'* I don't know; peiiiaps the remark displeases 
you which I permitted myself to make oon^/ 
ceming . . . ." 

RatmfrojQP began to stammer. 

" Concerning? "—repeated Irina inquiringly. 
— " Akh, pray omit irony and speak more 
quickly. I am tired, I am sleepy."— She took a 
candle from the table.—" Concerning? . . ." 

" Well, concerning that same Mr. Litvinoff. 
As there is no longer any doubt that you take a 
very great interest in him . . ." 

Irina raised the hand in which she held the 
candlestick; the flame came on a level with her 
husband's face, and, after looking him straight 
in the eye, with attention and almost with curi- 
osity, she suddenly burst out laughing. 

" What 's the matter with you? "—asked Rat- 
mirofF, with a scowl. 

Irina continued to laugh. 

'* Come, what is It?" he repeated, and 
stamped his foot 

He felt insulted, exasperated, yet, at the same 
time, the beauty of this woman, who stood there 
before him so lightly and so boldly, involuntarily 
surprised him ... it tormented him. He saw 

178 . 



SMOKE 

cveiything— all her charms, even the rosy gleam 
of the elegant nails on the delicate fingers, which 
firmly clasped the dark bronze of the heavy 
candlestick— even that gleam did not escape him 
... and the insult ate still more deeply into his 
heart. But Irina went on laughing. 

"What? You? Youare jealous?"— she said, 

at last, and turning her back on her husband, she 

/ left the room.—" He is jealous 1 "—was audible 

I outside the door, and again her laughter rang 

t out. 

RatmirojQP gazed gloomily after his wife,— 
even then he could not fail to observe the en*- 
chanting grace of her figure, of her movements, 
—and crushing his cigarette with a heavy blow 
against the marble slab of the chimney-piece, he 
flung it far from him. His cheeks suddenly 
paled, a convulsive quiver flitted across his chin, 
and his eyes wandered dully and fiercely over 
the floor, as though in search of something. . . . 
Every trace of elegance had vanished from his 
face. That must have been the sort of expression 
it had assumed when he flogged the white Rus- 
sian peasants. 

But Litvinofi^ came to himself in his own room, 
and seating himself on a chair by the table, he 
clutched his head in both hands, and, for a long 
time, remained motionless. He rose, at last, 
opened a drawer, and taking out a portfolio, 
drew from an inner pocket of it Tatyana's photo- 

179 



SMOKE 

graph. Her face, distorted and, as usual, made 
to look older by the photograph, gazed sadly at 
him. Litvinoff 's betrothed was a young girl of 
Great Russian descent, golden-haired, rather 
plump, and with somewhat heavy features, but 
with a wonderful expression of goodness and 
gentleness in the light-brown eyes, and a tender 
white brow, upon which the sunshine seemed al- 
ways to linger. For a long time Litvinojff did 
not take his eyes from the picture: then he softly 
pushed it from him, and again clasped his head 
with both hands. " All is overl "—he whispered 
at last.-"Irina! Irina!" 

It was only now, only at this moment, that he 
comprehended that he was irrevocably, madly in 
love with her, had fallen in love with her on the 
very day of his first meeting with her at the Old 
Chateau, that he never had ceased to love her. 
And yet how astonished he would have been, how 
incredulous; how he would have laughed if any 
one had told him that a few hours earlier. 

"But Tanya, Tanya, my God! Tanyal 
Tanya 1 *'— he kept repeating, with compunction; 
but Irina's image kept rising up before him in her 
black gown that looked like mourning, Mrith the 
radiant tranquillity of conquest on her marble- 
white face. 



180 



XVI 



LrrvfNOFF did not sleep all night long, and did 
not undress. He felt very heavy at heart. As 
an honourable and upright man, he understood 
the importance of obligations, the sacredness of 
duty, and would have regarded it as a disgrace 
to deal disingenuously with himself, with his 
weakness, with his conduct. At first a torpor de- 
scended upon him: for a long time he could not 
free himself from the weight of a persistent, semi- 
conscious, obscure sensation; then terror took 
possession of him at the thought that the future, 
his future so nearly won, was again enveloped in 
gloom, that his house— his house which had but 
just been erected— was reeling to its fall. . . He 
began pitilessly to upbraid himself, but imme- 
diately put a stop to his own outbursts. " What 
dastardliness is this? "—he thought.—" This is no 
time for reproaches; I must act; Tdnya is my 
affianced bride, she has trusted my love, my hon- 
our, we are united forever, and we cannot, we 
must not part." He set before himself, in vivid 
colours, all Tatydna's qualities, he mentally sorted 
them over and enumerated them; he tried to 
arouse in himself emotion and tenderness. 

181 



SMOKE 

" There is but one thing left to do,"— he thought 
again:— "to flee, flee instantly, without waiting 
for her arrival, to flee to meet her, even if I shall 
sufi^er, even if I shall torture myself with Tdnya, 
—which is improbable,— but, in any ease, it is use- 
less to argue about that, to take that into consid- 
eration; I must do my duty, even if I die after- 
ward!—" But thou hast no right to deceive her," 
another voice whispered to him, " thou hast not 
the right to conceal from her the change which 
has taken place in thy feelings; perchance, on 
learning that thou hast fallen in love with an- 
other, she will not wish to become thy wife? " 
" Nonsense! Nonsense! " he retorted:—" All that 
is sophistry, shameful guile, false conscientious- 
ness; I have no right not to keep my plighted 
word, that's how the case stands. Well, very 
good. . . Then I must go away from here with- 
out seeing her. . ." 

But at this point Litvfnofi^'s heart contracted, 
a chill overcame him, a physical chill: a momen- 
tary shiver ran through his body, his teeth chat- 
tered. He stretched and yawned as though in a 
fever. Without insisting further on his last 
thought,, stifling that thought, turning away from 
it, he began to feel perplexed and astonished that 
he could again have . • . again have fallen in 
love with that depraved, worldly creature, 
with all her repulsive, hostile surroundings. He 
tried to ask himself: " But hast thou fallen thor- 

182 






/ 



SMOKE 

oughly, actually in love? " and could only wave 
his hand in despair* He still continued to feel 
surprised and perplexed, and lol there before 
him, as though from a soft, fragrant mist, started 
forth the bewitching countenance, the starry eye- 
lashes were raised— and silently, irresistibly, the 
enchanting eyes penetrated his heart, and the 
voice rang out sweetly, and the gleaming shoul* 
ders— the shoulders of a young empress— ex- 
haled the freshness and the fervour of tender- 
ness. . . • 

Towaud morning a decision matured, at last, in 
Litvinoff 's soul. He decided to set out, on that 
very day, to meet Tatyana, and in a final inter- 
view with Irina to tell her, if it could not be 
avoided, the whole truth— and part from her 
forever. 

He arranged and packed his things, waited un- 
til twelve o'clock, and went to her. But at the 
sight of her half -veiled windows, Litvinoff*s 
heart seemed to sink within him ... he lacked 
the courage to cross the threshold of the hotel. 
He walked several times up and down Lichten- 
thaler Avenue. " My respects to you, Mr. Litvi- 
noff ! "—suddenly rang out a mocking voice from 
the heights of a swiftly-rolling dog-cart. Litvi- 
noff raised his eyes, and beheld General Ratmi- 
roff seated beside Prince M., a well-known sports- 
man and lover of Bnglish equipages and horses. 

183 



SMOKE 

The Prince was driving, but tKe general bene to 
one side and displayed his teeth, lifting his hat 
high above his head. Litvinoff bowed to him, 
and instantly, as though in obedience to a secret 
command, set out at a run for Irina. 

She was at home. He ordered the servants to 
announce him: he was immediately received. 
When he entered she was standing in the middle 
of the room. She wore a loose morning gown, 
with wide, flowing sleeves; her face, pale as on the 
preceding day, but not fresh as it had then been, 
expressed weariness; the languid smile with which 
she greeted her guest still more clearly defined 
that expression. She offered him her hand, and 
gazed at him affectionately but abstractedly. 

" Thank you for coming,"— she began, in a 
mournful voice, and sank into an arm-chair. — " I 
do not feel quite well to-day ; I passed a bad night. 
Well, what have you to say about last evening? 
Was not I right?" 

Litvinoff seated himself. 

" I have come to you, Irina Pdvlovna,"— he 
began . . . 

She instantly straightened herself up and 
turned round; her eyes fairly bored into Lit- 
vinoff. 

" What is the matter with you? "—she ex- 
claimed.—" You are as pale as a corpse— you 
are ill. What is the matter with you?" 

Litvinoff became confused, 
184 



SMOKE 

/ " With me, Irina Pdvlovna? '' 

" You have received bad news? A catastrophe 
has happened, tell me, tell me. . /* 

Litvinoff, in his turn, stared at Irina. 

" I have received no bad news,"— he said, not 
without an effort:—" but a catastrophe has really 
happened, a great catastrophe . . . and it has 
brought me to you.*' 

"A catastrophe? What is it?" 

" Such a one that . . . ." 

Litvfnoff tried to go on . . . and could not. 
But he clasped his hands so hard that the fingers 
cracked. Irina bent forward, and seemed tiuned 
to stone. 

" Akhl I love you I "—burst at last in a dull 
groan from Litvinoff's breast, and he turned 
away, as though desirous of hiding his face. 

"What, Grigory Mikhailovitch, you . . . ." 
Irina also was miable to finish her phrase, and 
leaning back in her chair, she raised both hands 
to her face.—" You . . . love me? " 

" Yes . . . yes . . . yes,"— he repeated with 
exasperation, turning his face more and more 
aside. 

All became siknt in the room : a butterfly which 
had flown in, agitated its wings and struggled be^ 
tween the curtain and the window. 

Litvfnoff was the first to speak. 

"This, Irina Pavlovna,"— he began:— "this 
is the catastrophe which has » , • stunned me. 



SMOKE 

which I ought to have foreseen and avoided, if I 
had not as in former days, in the Mosoow time, 
fallen immediately into the whirlpool. Evidently, 
it has pleased fate to take me again unawares, 
and experience again, through you, those tor- 
ments which, it would have seemed, ought never 
more to have been repeated. . . But I have re- 
sisted . . have tried to resist . . in vain; ye^, 
plainly, what is fated to be cannot be avoided. 
But I am telling you all this for the purpose of 
putting an end, as soon as possible to this • • . 
this tragi-comedy,"— he added with a fresh access 
of exasperation and shame. 

Again Litvinoff fell silent; the butterfly con- 
tinued to struggle and flutter. Irina did not re- 
move her hands from her face. 

" And you are not deceiving yourself? ''—her 
whisper became audible from beneath those white, 
seemingly bloodless hands. 

" I am not deceiving myself,"— replied Litvi- 
nofi^ in a hollow voice.—" I love you as I have 
never loved, or loved any one but you. I am not 
going to reproach you : that would be too foolish; 
I will not repeat to you that perhaps nothing of 
this sort would have happened had you behaved 
difi^erently toward me. ... Of course, I alone 
am to blame, my self -confldence has been my un- 
doing; but I am rightly chastised, and you could 
not possibly have expected this. Of course, you 
'did not take into consideration that it would hav^ 

186 



SMOKE 

been far less dangerous for me if you had not felt 
your fault so vividly . . . your imaginary fault 
toward me, and had not wished to atone for it 

• • • but what is done cannot be undone, of course. 

• . I only wanted to explain to you my position: 
it is sufficiently painful as it is. .. At all events, 
there will be no misunderstanding, as you say, 
but the frankness of my confession will, I hope, 
mitigate that feeling of insult which you cannot 
fail to feel." 

Litvinoff spoke without raising his eyes; and 
if he had glanced at Irina, still he could not have 
seen what was going on in her face, because, as 
before, she did not remove her hands. Neverthe- 
less, what was taking place on her face would, in 
aU probability, have amazed him: it expressed 
both fear and joy, and a certain blissful exhaus- 
tion and agitation; the eyes barely glimmered 
beneath the drooping lids, and the long-drawn, 
broken breathing chilled the lips which were 
parted as though in thirst. . • . 

Litvinoff maintained silence, waited for a re- 
ply, a sound. . . Nothing! 

" But one thing is left for me to do,"— he be- 
gan again:—" to go away; I am come to bid you 
farewell." 

Irfna slowly dropped her hands upon her 
knees. 

" But I remember, Grigory Mikhailovitch,"— 
shebegan:— " that . . that person, of whom you 



SMOKE 

spoke to me, was to come hither. You are ex- 
pecting her? " 

" Yes; but I shall write to her . . . she will 
stop somewhere on the way . . in Heidelberg, 
for instance." 

"Ah! In Heidelberg. . . Yes. . It is pleasant 
there. . . But all this must disturb your plans. 
Are you sure, Grig6ry Mikhaflovitch, that you 
are not exaggerating, et que ce n*est pas une 
fausse alarme? ** 

Irina spoke quietly, almost coldly, and with 
little pauses, and glances aside, in the direction of 
the window. Litvfnoff did not answer her last 
question. 

" But why have you alluded to the insult? *'— 
she went on.—" I am not insulted ... oh, nol 
And if either of us is to blame, then, in any case, 
it is not you; not you alone. . . Remember our 
last conversations, and you will be convinced that 
it is not you.*' 

" I have never had any doubt of your magna- 
nimity,"— ejaculated Litvinoff through his teeth: 
— " but I should like to know: do you approve 
of my intention?" 

" To go away? " 

" Yes." 

Irina continued to gaze to one side. 

"At the first moment your intention seemed 
to me to be premature . . . but now I have 
thought over what you said . . • and if you 

188 



SMOKE 

I really are not making a mistake, then I suppose 
that you ought to go. It will be better so . . . 
better for both of us." 

Irina's voice had grown more and mpre 
quiet, and her very speech became slower and 
slower. 

" General Ratmiroff, really, might notice it," 
—Litvinoff began. . . . 

Irina's eyes dropped again, and something 
strange flickered around her lips . . flickered 
and vanished. 

" No, you do not understand me,"— she inter- 
rupted him.—" I was not thinking of my hus- 
band. Why should I ? There would be nothing 
for him to notice. But, I repeat it: separation 
is indispensable for both of us." 

LitvinofiP took up his hat, which had fallen to 
the floor. 

" Everything is over,"— he thought;—" I must 
go."— "And so it only remains for me to take 
leave of you, Irina Pdvlovna,"— he said aloud, 
and suddenly dread fell upon him, exactly as 
though he were on the point of pronouncing his 
own sentence.—" I can only hope that you will 
not bear me any ill-will .... and that if, some- 
times, we . . . ." 

Again Irina interrupted him: 

" Wait, Grigory Mikhaflovitch, do not bid me 
farewell yet. That would be over-hasty." 

Something quivered within Litvinoff, but a 
189 



SMOKE 

burning bitterness surged up on the instant, and 
with redoubled force, in his heart. 

"But I cannot remainl"— he exclaimed.— 
" To what end? Why prolong this anguish? " 

"Do not bid me farewell yet/'— repeated 
Irina. • " I must see you once more. . • Again 
the same sort of dumb parting as in Moscow,— 
no, I will not have that. You may go now, but 
you must promise me, give me your word of hon- 
our, that you will not take your departure with- 
out having seen me once more." 

"You wish that?" 

" I demand it. If you go away without having 
taken leave of me, I will never, never forgive 
you. Do you hear: neverl"— "It is strange 1" 
—she added, as though speaking to herself:—" I 
cannot possibly realise that I am in Baden. . . I 
keep feeling that I am in Moscow. . . (Jo. ." 

Litvinoff rose. 

" Irina PAvlovna," he said,—" give me your 
hand." 

Irfna shook her head. 

" I have told you that I will not bid you fare- 
well. . ." 

" I am not asking it for a farewell. . ." 

Irina was on the point of giving him her hand, 
but glanced at Litvinoff for the first time since 
his confession,— and drew it back. 

" No, no,"— she whispered,—" I will not give 
you my hand. No ... no. Go." 

19Q 



SMOKE 

Litvinoff bowed and left the room. He could 
not know why Irina had refused him a last 

friendly pressure He could not know 

that she was afraid. 

He left the room, and Irfna again sank down 
in the arm-chair, and again covered her face. 



191 



XVII 

LiTViNOFF did not return home: he went off to 
the mountains, and making his way into the den- 
sity of the forest, threw himself on the earth, face 
downward, and lay there for about an hour. He 
did not suffer, he did not weep; he lay in a sort 
of painful, agonising swoon. Never before had 
he experienced anything of the sort: there was an 
intolerably aching, gnawing sensation of empti- 
ness, of emptiness in himself, around him every- 
where. . . He did not think either of Irina or of 
Tatydna. He felt one thing : the blow had fallen, 
and life had been cut in twain like a rope, and he 
was entirely drawn forward and seized upon by 
something unknown, yet cold. Sometimes it 
seemed to him that a whirlwind had descended 
upon him, and he felt its swift gyrations and the 
confused beatings of its dark pinions. . . But his 
decision did not waver. • Remain in Baden . . • 
such a thing was not even to be mentioned. Men- 
tally, he had already taken his departure: he was 
already seated in the rattling and smoking rail- 
way-carriage, and fleeing, fleeing into the dumb, 
dead distance. He rose up, at last, and leaning 
his head against a tree, remained motionless ; only 

192 



SMOKE 

with one hand, without himself being conscious 
of it, he had grasped the highest frond of a fern, 
and was swaying it to and fro with a regular beat. 
The sound of approaching footsteps aroused him 
from his torpor; two charcoal-burners, with large 
sacks on their shoulders, were making their way 
along the steep path. " It is timel " whispered 
Litvmoff, and followed the charcoal-burners 
down the path to the town, turned into the rail- 
way building, and despatched a telegram to Tat- 
yina's aunt, Kapitolina Markovna. In this tele- 
gram he informed her of his immediate departure, 
and appointed a meeting with her in Schrader's 
hotel, in Heidelberg. " If an end is to be made, 
it had better be made at once,"— he thought;— 
" there is no use in deferring it until to-morrow.'* 
Then he entered the gaming-room, with dull curi- 
osity staved two or three players in the face, 
descried from afar Binddsoff's hideous nape# 
Pishtchalkin's irreproachable face, and, after 
standing for a little while under the colonnade, he 
betook himself, without haste, to Irfna. It was 
not at the instigation of a sudden, involuntary 
impulse that he went to her; when he had made 
up his mind to depart, he had also made it up to 
keep the word he had pledged, and to see her once 
again. He entered the hotel without being per- 
ceived by the door-porter, ascended the staircase 
without meeting any one, and, without knocking 
at the door, mechanically pushed it open, and en- 

198 



SMOKE 

tered the room. In the room, in the same arm- 
chair, in the same gown, in the same attitude as 
three hours before, sat Irina. . . It was evident 
that she had not stirred from the spot, had not 
moved during all that time. She slowly raised 
her head, and on perceiving Litvinoff , shuddered 
all over, and grasped the arms of the chair.— 
" You have frightened me,"— she whispered. 

Litvfnoff regarded her with speechless amaze* 
ment. The expression of her face, of her sunken 
eyes, impressed him. 

Irina smiled in a forced way and adjusted her 
hair, which had fallen out of curl. 

" It does not matter. . . I, really, I do not 
know. . I think I have been asleep here." 

" Excuse me, Irina Pa vlovna,"— began Ldtvi- 
noff,— " I entered without being announced. . I 
wished to comply with what you were pleased to 
demand of me. And, as I am going away to- 
day . . ." 

" To-day? But I thought you told me that you 
wished first to write a letter. . ." 

" I have sent a telegram." 

" Ahl You found it necessary to make haste. 
And when do you leave? At what o'clock, I 
mean?" 

" At seven o'clock in the evening." 

"Ah! At seven o'clock 1 And you have come 
to say farewell? " 

" Yes, Irina Pavlovna, to say farewell." 
194 



SMOKE 

Irfna remained silent for a while. 

"'I must thank you, 6rig6ry Mikhaflitch; 
yoo probably did not find it easy to come 
hither." 

" No, Ir(na PAvlovna, it was very far from 
easy." 

" Life is not easy, altogether, Grig6ry Mi- 
khaflitch ; what do you think? " 

'' That depends on the person, Irina Fdv- 
lovna." 

Again Irina remained silent for a space, as 
though in meditation. 

" You have shown your friendship for me by 
coming,"— she said, at last—" I thank you. 
And, altogether, I entirely approve of your de- 
cision to make an end of it all as speedily as pos- 
sible, . . . because every delay . . . because . . . 
because I, that very same I whom you accused of 
coquetry, whom you called a comedian,— I be- 
lieve that was what you called me? . ." 

Irina rose hastily, and seating herself in an- 
other arm-chair, bent over and pressed her face 
and hands against the edge of the table. . . 

" Because I love you . . ." she whispered, 
through her tightly-clasped fingers. 

Litvfnoff staggered back, as though some one 
had struck him in the breast. Irina sadly turned 
her head away from him, as though desirous, in 
her turn, of hiding her face from him, and laid 
it on the table. 

.1^5 



SMOKE 

" Yes, I love you* ... I love you . . . and 
you know it." 

"I? I know it? "— Litvinoff uttered, at last 
— " I?" 

"Well, and now you see,"— pursued Irfna,— 
" that you really must go, that there must be no 
delay,— that we, that I can suffer no delay. It is 
dangerous, it is terrible. . . Good-bye!" she 
added, rising impetuously from her chair. 

She took several steps in the direction of the 
door to her boudoir, and thrusting her hand be- 
hind her back, she hastily moved it through the 
air, as though desirous of encountering and press- 
ing Litvinoff's hand; but he stood, as though 
rooted to the spot, at a distance. . • . Once more 
she said, " Farewell, forget," and without glanc- 
ing behind her, fled from the room. 

Litvinoff was left alone, and still could not re- 
cover himself. He came to his senses at last, 
swiftly approadied the door of the boudoir, utter- 
ing Irina's name once, twice, thrice. . . He had 
already laid his hand on the handle of the door. . . 
The ringing voice of Ratmfroff made itself audi- 
ble from the porch of the hotel. 

Litvinoff pulled his hat down over his eyes and 
went out to the staircase. The elegant general 
was standing in front of the porter's lodge, and 
explaining to him, in imperfect Germah, that he 
wished to hire a carriage for the whole of the 
following day. On catching sight of Litvinoff, 

in 



SMOKE 

he again raised his hat abnormally high, and 
again expressed his " respect ": he was evidently 
scoffing at him, but Litvinoff cared nothing for 
that. He barely returned Ratmiroff 's salutation, 
and on reaching his own quarters, he paused in 
front of his trunk, already packed and closed. 
His head was in a whirl, and his heart was quiver- 
ing like a chord. What was to be done now? And 
could he have foreseen this? 

Yes, he had foreseen it, incredible as it might 
seem. It had stimned him Uke a clap of thunder, 
but he had foreseen it, although he had not dared 
to admit it. But he had known nothing with cer- 
tainty. Everyihing had got jumbled up within 
him; he had lost the thread of his own thoughts. 
He recalled Moscow, he recalled how " it " had 
descended upon him then like a sudden hurricane. 
He felt suffocated: ecstasy— but a desolate, 
hopeless ecstasy— choked and rent his breast. 
Not for anything in the world would he have con- 
sented that the words uttered by Irina should not 
really have been uttered by her. . . But what 
then? All the same, those words could not alter 
the resolution he had already taken; As before, 
it did not waver, but held firmly like an anchor 
which has been cast. Litvinoff had lost the 
thread of his thoughts . . . yes; but his will re- 
mained with him still, and he gave himself orders 
as he would have given them to a strange man, 
his subordinate. He rang the bell for a waiter, 

197 



SMOKE 

ordered his bill to be brought, engaged a seat in 
the evening omnibus: he deliberately cut oif all 
his roads. " Even if I die there afterward," he 
kept repeating, as he had done during the pre- 
ceding sleepless night; this phrase was particu- 
larly to his taste.—" Even if I die there after- 
ward," he repeated, as he slowly paced to and 
fro in his chamber, only closing his eyes and ceas- 
ing to breathe from time to time involimtarily 
when those words, those words of Ir(na invaded 
his soul, and seared it as with fire. " Evidently, 
one does not love twice," he thought : " another 
life has entered into yours, you have admitted 
it— you cannot rid yourself of that poison to the 
end, you cannot break those threads I Just so; 
but what does that prove? Happiness. . . Is 
that possible? You love her, let us assume • • . 
and she . . . she loves you. • ." 

But at this point he was again compelled to 
take himself in hand. As a wayfarer, in a dark 
night, who descries ahead of him a tiny light and 
fears to lose his road, does not remove his eyes 
from it for an instant, so also Litvinoff unremit- 
tingly concentrated the full force of his attention 
upon one point, upon one goal. To present him- 
self to his affianced bride, and even not actually 
to his bride (he tried not to think of her) , but in 
the room of the Heidelberg hotel— that is what 
stood before him steadfastly, as his guiding light 
What was to come afterward he did not know, 

198 



SMOKE 

and did not wish to know. . . . One thing was 
indubitable : he would not turn back. " Even if I 
die there," he repeated for the tenth time, and 
glanced at his watch. 

A quarter past six I How long he still had to 
wait I Again he strode back and forth. The sun 
was declining to its setting, the sky was glowing 
red over the trees, and a crimson twilight fell 
through the narrow windows into his darkening 
room. All at once it seemed to Litvinoff as 
though the door had been opened softly and 
swiftly behind him, and as swiftly closed again. 
. . He turned round; by the door, enveloped in a 
black mantilla, stood a woman. . . 

'' Irinal " he cried, and clasped his hands. . • 
She raised her head, and fell upon his breast. 

Two hours later he was seated on his divan. His 
trunk stood in a corner, open and empty, and on 
the table, amid articles scattered there in confu- 
sion, lay a letter from Tatyana which Litvinoff 
had just received. She wrote him that she had 
decided to hasten her departure from Dresden, 
as her aunt's health was entirely restored, and 
that if no obstacles intervened they would both 
arrive in Baden at twelve o'clock on the following 
day, and hoped that he would meet them at the 
railway station. Litvinoff had engaged apart- 
ments for them in the same hotel where he was 
stopping. 

X9» . 



SMOKE 

That same evening he sent a note to Irina, and 
on the following morning he received an answer 
ji from her. " A day sooner or a day later/'— she 
' wrote, " it was inevitable. I repeat to thee what 
I I said last night: my life is in thy hands, do with 
j me as thou wilt. I do not wish to put any re- 
straint upon thy freedom, but thou must know 
that, in case of necessity, I will abandon every- 
thing, and will follow thee to the ends of the earth. 
We shall see each other to*morrow, shall we not? 
Thy Irina." 

The last two words were written in a large» 
bold, decided chirography. 



200 



XVIII 

Among the persons who assembled, on the 18th of 
August, about twelve o'clock, on the platform of 
the railway station was Litvinoff . Not long be- 
fore he had met Iruia. She was sitting in an open 
carriage with her husband and another person, a 
gentleman already elderly. She had seen Litvi- 
noff, and he had perceived it: something dark 
had flitted across her eyes, but she immediately 
concealed herself from him with her parasol. 

A strange change had taken place in him since 
the preceding day— in his whole exterior, in his 
movements, in the expression of his face; and he 
I himself felt that he was another man. His self- 
1 confidence had vanished, his composure had van- 
I ished also, along with his self-respect; nothing 
I was left of his former spiritual state. Recent in- 
effaceable impressions had shut out everything 
else. A certain unprecedented sensation, strong, 
sweet— and malign, had made its appearance;. a 
mysterious guest had made his way into the sanc- 
tuary, and had taken possession of it, and had lain 
down therein silently, but at full length, as master 
of the new domicile. Litvinoff no longer felt 
ashamed, he was afraid— and, at the same time, 

201 



SMOKE 

a desperate hardihood was kindled within him; 
this mixture of conflicting feelings is familiar to 
captives, to the conquered; it is not unknown also 
to the thief, after he has robbed a church. But 
Litvinoff had been conquered— conquered sud- 
denly; • . • and what had become of his honour? 

The train was a few minutes late. Litvinofl'^s 
languor passed into torturing anguish: he could 
not stand tstill in one place, and, deathly pale, he 
squeezed and forced his way among the people. 
" My God," he thought, " if I might have just 
one more day. . ." His first glance at Tdnya, 
Tdnya's first glance • • . that was what alarmed 
him, that was what he must get through with as 
speedily as possible. . . And afterward? After- 
ward—come what might! . . . He no longer ar- 
rived at any decisions, he no longer answered for 
himself. His phrase of yesterday flashed pain- 
fully throu^ his head. . . And that is how he is 
meeting TAnya. . . 

A prolonged whistle resounded at last, a dull 
roar, which momentarily increased, became audi- 
ble, and rolling slowly from behind the road- 
gates, the locomotive made its appearance. The 
crowd advanced to meet it, and Litvinoff^ ad- 
vanced after it, dragging his feet like a con- 
demned man. Faces, ladies' hats, began to show 
themselves from the carriages, in one small win- 
dow a white handkerchief began to gleam. . . 
Kapit61ina MArkovna was waving it . . It was 

202 



SMOKE 

over; she had seen Litvfnoff, and he had recog- 
nised her. The train came to a standstill, Litvi- 
noff rushed to the door and opened it: Tatyana 
was standing by the side of her aunt, and smiling 
brightly, offered him her hand. 

He helped them both to alight, uttered a few 
courteous words, incomplete and obscure, and im- 
mediately began to bustle about, began to collect 
their tickets, their travelling-bags, their plaids, 
ran off to hunt up a porter, called a carriage; 
other people were bustling about around him, and 
he rejoiced at their presence, their noise and their 
shouts. Tatydna stepped a litUe to one side, and 
without ceasing to smile, calmly awaited the con- 
clusion of his hasty preparations. Kapitolina 
Mdrkovna, on the contrary, could not stand still; 
she would not believe that she had at last got to 
Baden. She suddenly cried out: " And the um- 
brellas? TAnya, where are the umbrellas? " not 
noticing that she was holding them fibrmly under 
her arm; then she began to bid a loud and pro- 
longed farewell to another lady, whose acquain- 
tance she had made during the journey from 
Heidelberg to Baden. The lady was none other 
than Madame Sukhdntchikoff, already known to 
us. She had betaken herself to Heidelberg to 
worship Gubary6ff, and had returned with " in- 
structions." Kapitolina Mdrkovna wore a de- 
cidedly queer striped mantle, and a round travel- 
ling-hat, in the shape of a mushroom, from be- 

208 



SMOKE 

served mysterious traces of her visit. . • Again 
Litvinoff felt that he was her slave. He pulled 
forth her handkerchief, which he had hidden in 
his breast, pressed his lips to it, and burning mem- 
ories, like delicate poison, diffused themselves 
through his veins. He understood that there was 
no turning back now, no choice; the painful emo- 
tion aroused in him by Taty&na melted like snow 
in the fire, and repentance died within him • • . 
died— so that even the agitation within him was 
allayed, and the possibility of dissimulation, 
which presented itself to his mind, did not revolt 
him. . . Love, Irina's love— that was what had 
now become his righteousness, his law, his con- 
science. . . The prudent, sensible Litvinoff did 
not even reflect how he was to extricate himself 
from a situation the horror and indecency of 
which he felt lightly and in an indirect manner, 
as it were. 

An hour had not elapsed when a waiter pre- 
sented himself to Litvinoff, sent by the newly- 
arrived ladies: they requested him to be so good 
as to come to them in their sitting-room. He fol- 
lowed their emissary, and found them already 
dressed, and with their hats on. Both expressed 
a desire to set off at once to inspect Baden, seeing 
that the weather was very fine indeed. Kapi- 
tolina MArkovna, in particular, was fairly burn- 
ing with impatience; she was even somewhat 
vexed to learn that the hour for the fashionable 

206 



SMOKE 

gathering iii front of the Konversationshaus had 
not yet arrived. Litvfnoff gave her his arm, and 
the official promenade began. Taty^na walked 
by the side of her aunt, and gazed about her with 
calm curiosity; Kapitolina Mdrkovna continued 
her interrogatories. The sight of the roulette^ 
of the stately croupiers, whom she would cer- 
tainly—had she met them in any other place,— 
have taken for Cabinet Ministers, of their 
brisk little shovels, of the golden and silver 
heaps on the green cloth, of the gambling old 
women and painted courtesans put Kapit61ina 
Mdrkovna into a state akin to dumb rapture; 
she totally forgot that she ought to feel indig- 
nant—and only stared, and stared, with all her 
eyes, quivering, from time to time, with every 
fresh exclamation. . . The buzzing of the ivory 
ball in the depths of the roulette penetrated to the 
very marrow of her bones— and only when she 
found herself in the open air did she gain suffi- 
cient command over herself to designate th^ 
game of chance, with a profound sigh, as an im- 
moral invention of aristocratism. A fixed, ma- 
licious smile made its appearance on Litvinoff's 
lips; he talked abruptly and indolently, as though 
he were vexed or bored. . . But now he turned to 
Tatyana, and was seized with secret discomfiture: 
she was gazing attentively at him with an ex- 
pression as though she were asking herself what 
sort of an impression was being aroused within 

207 



SMOKE 

her? He made haste to nod his head at her; she 
replied to him in the same way, and again looked 
at him inquiringly, not without a certain effort, 
as though he stood a great deal further away from 
her than he did in reidity. Litvinoff led his ladies 
away from the Konversationshaus, and avoiding 
"the Russian tree," under which his fellow- 
countrymen were already encamped, took his way 
to Lichtenthaler Avenue. No sooner had he en- 
tered the avenue than he descried Irina from 
afar. 

She was walking toward him with her husband 
and Fotugin. Litvlnoff turned pale as a sheet, 
but did not retard his pace, and when he came 
on a level with her he made her a silent bow. And 
she bowed to him, pleasantly but coldly, and scru- 
tinising Taty^na with a swift glance, she slipped 
past. . . Ratmiroff raised his hat very high, Po- 
tugin mumbled something. 

" Who is that lady? "—suddenly inquired Ta- 
tydna. Up to that moment she had hardly opened 
her lips. 

"That lady? "-repeated LitvinoflF.— " That 
lady? She is a certain Madame Ratmfroff." 

" A Russian? " 

" Yes." 

" Did you make her acquaintance here?" 

" No; I have known her this long time." 

"How beautiful she is!" 

" Did you notice her toilette? "—put in Kapi- 
208 



SMOKE 

tolina M6rkovna.— " Ten families might be fed 
for a whole year for the money which her laces 
alone are worth. Was that her husband walking 
with her? "—she inquired of Litvfnoff. 

" Yes." 

" He must be frightfully rich." 

" Really, I do not know; I do not think so." 

" And what is his rank? " 

" That of general." 

" What eyes she has! "—remarked Tatydna:- 
*' and the expression of them is so strange: both 
thoughtful and penetrating. . . I have never 
seen such eyes." 

Litvlnoff made no reply; it seemed to him that 
he again felt on his face Tatydna's questioning 
glance, but he was mistaken: she was looking un- 
der her feet at the sand of the path. 

"Good heavens! Who is that monster?"— 
suddenly exclaimed Kapit61ina Mdrkovna, point- 
ing with her finger at a low char-h-hanca, in 
which, boldly lolling, lay a ruddy-haired, snub- 
nosed woman, in an unusually rich costiune and 
lilac stockings. 

'' That monster! Gkxxlness, that is the famous 
Mademoiselle Cora." 

" Who? " 

"" Mademoiselle Cora ... a Parisian .... 
celebrity." 

" What ? that pug-dog ? Why, she is extremely 
ugly!" 

200 



SMOKE 

" Evidently, that is ho hindrance/' Kapit6- 
lina Markovna simply flung out her hands with 
amazement. 

" Well, your Baden! "—she ejaculated at last 
— " But may we sit down on this bench? I feel 
rather fatigued." 

** Of course you may, Kapit61ina Mdrkovna. . . 
That 's what the benches are placed here for." 

" Well, the Lord only knows! They say that 
off^ there, in Paris, benches stand on the boule- 
rards, also, but it is not proper to sit on them." 

Litvinoff made no reply to Kapitolina Mdr- 
kovna. Only at that very moment did he reflect 
that a couple of paces distant was the very spot 
where he had had with Irina the explanation 
which had settled everything. Then he recol- 
lected that to-day he had noticed on her cheek a 
tiny red spot. . • 

Kapitolina Markovna sank down on the bench^ 
Tatyana seated herself beside her, Litvinoff^ re- 
n^ained on the path; between him and Tatydna 
—or did it only seem so to him?— something had 
taken place . . . something unconscious and 
gradual. 

" Akh, she is queer, she is queer,"— ejaculated 
Kapitolina Markovna compassionately, shaking 
her head.—" Now, if you were to sell her toilette, 
you could feed not ten, but a himdred families. 
Did ypu see the diamonds on her red hair under 
her hat? Diamonds by daylight, hey? " 

210 



SMOKE 

' ** H» Kail* ia not red/'— remarked Litvinoff ; 
— " she dyes it to a reddish hue ; that 's the fashion 
now." 

Again Kapit61ina M^rkovna threw her hands 
apart in amazement, and even fell into medita- 
tion. 

"Well,"— she said at last,— "we have n't 
gone to such scandalous lengths in Dresden yet. 
Because, after all, it is further from Paris. 
You think so too, don't you, Grig6ry Mikhaf- 
litch?" 

"I? "—replied Litvlnoff, and said to himself: 
"What the deuce is she talking about?"—" I? 
Of course ... of course. . ." 

But here hurried footsteps became audible, and 
Potugin approached the bench. 

" How do you do, Grig^ry Mikhaflovitch,"— 
he said, smiling, and nodding his head. 

Litvmoff immediately caught him by the arm. 

" Good afternoon, good afternoon, Sozont 
Ivdnitch. I think I met you just now, with . . . 
just now, in the avenue." 

" Yes, it was I." 

Potugin bowed respectfully to the ladies as 
they sat. 

" Permit me to introduce you, Sozont Ivan- 
itch. My good friends, and relatives, have only 
just arrived in Baden. Potugin, Sozont Ivdn- 
itch, a fellow-countryman, also a visitor to 
Baden." 

211 



SMOKE 

Both ladies rose slightly. Potiigin repeated his 
salutes. 

" It is a regular rout here," began Kapit61ina 
Mdrkovna, in a thin little voice; the kindly old 
maid was easily abashed, but she tried her best 
to keep up her dignity:— "every one regards it 
as a pleasant duty to come here.** 

" Baden really is a very agreeable place,"— 
replied Fotugin, casting a sidelong glance 
at Tatyana;— "a very agreeable place is 
Baden." 

"Yes; only too aristocratic, so far as I can 
judge. She and I have been living in Dresden 
this long time ... it is a very interesting town; 
but it is, most decidedly, a rout here." 

" She has taken a fancy to that word," thought 
Potiigin.—" Your observation is perfectly just," 
—he said aloud:—" On the other hand, nature is 
wonderful here, and the situation is sudi as is 
rarely to be found. Your companion must par- 
ticularly appreciate it. Do you not, madame? "— 
he added, this time addressing himself directly to 
Tatyana. 

Tatyana raised her large, clear eyes to Potugin. 
She seemed rather perplexed as to what was 
wanted of her, and why Litvfnoff had introduced 
her, on that first day of her arrival, to that strange 
man, who had, however, a clever and amiable face, 
and who looked at her in a courteous and friendly 
manner. I 

212 



SMOKE 

" Yes/'— she said, at last,—" it is rery pretty 
here." 

" You ought to visit the old chateau,"— went 
on Potugin;— " in particular, I recommend you 
to go to Iburg." 

" The Saxon Switzerland,"— began Kapit61ina 
Milrkoyna. 

A blast of notes from trumpets rolled down 
the avenue: it was the Prussian military band 
frbm Rastadt (in 1862 Rastadt was still a fed- 
erate fortress) beginning its weekly concert in the 
pavilion. Kapit61ina Mdrkovna instantly rose. 

" Music! "—she said:—" the music at the a la 
Conversation/ • • • we must go there. It must 
be three o'clock now, is it not? Society is begin- 
ning to assemble now? " 

" Yes,"— replied Potiigin;- " this is the most 
fashionable hour for society, and the music is very 
fine." 

" Well, then we must not delay. Tinya, let 
us go." 

" Will you permit me to accompany you? "— 
inquired Potugin, to the no small astonishment 
of Litvinofi*: it could not enter his head that Irina 
had sent Potugin. 

Kapitolina Mari^ovna grinned. 

" With the greatest pleasure, monsieur . . . 
monsieur. . ." 

" Potugin,"— prompted he, and oflfered her his 
anyi. 

218 



SMOKE 

Litvfnoff gave his to Tatyina, arid both couples 
directed their steps toward the Kbnversations- 
haus. 

Potdgin continued to argue with Kapit61ina 
M^rkovna. But Litvmoif walked along without 
uttering a word, and merely lauded a couple of 
times, without any cause whatever, and lightly 
pressed Tatydna's arm. There was falsehood in 
those pressures, to which she did not respcxid, and 
Litvfnoif was conscious of the falsehood. They 
did not express mutual confidence in the dose 
union of two souls which had given themselves 
to each other, as before ; they were now taking the 
place— for the time being— of the words which he 
could not invent. That speechless something, 
which had begun between the two, grew and 
strengthened. Again Tatydna gazed attentively, 
almost intently, at him. 

The same state of a£Pairs continued in front of 
the Konversationshaus, at the little table, around 
which all four seated themselves, with this sok 
difference that Litvinoff 's silence appeared more 
comprehensible under the bustling turmoil of the 
crowd, and the thunder and crash of the band. 
Kapit61ina Markovna was quite beside herself, 
as the saying is; Fotugin was hardly able to 
humour her, and satisfy her curiosity. Luckily 
for him, the gaunt figure of Madame Sukhin- 
tdiikoff and her ever-restless eyes suddenly made 
their appearance in the throng. Kapitolina M^* 

2U 



SMOKE 

kovna instantly recognised her; called her up to 
the table, made her sit down-r-and a hurricane of 
words ensued. 

Potugin turned to Tatyana and began to con- 
verse with her in a soft and quiet voice, with a 
caressing expression on his slightly inclined coun- 
tehance; and she, to her own surprise, answered 
him lightly and without constraint; she found it 
agreeable to chat with this stranger^ whom she 
did not know, while Litvfnoff continued, as be- 
fore, to sit motionless, with the same fixed and 
malicious smile on his lips. 

The hour for dinner arrived at last. The band 
ceased to play, the crowd began to thin out. Kap- 
it61ina Mdrkovna bade a sympathetic farewell to 
Madame Sukhantchikoif J She had conceived an 
immense respect for her, although she told her 
niece afterward that she was an extremely spite- 
ful person; but, on the other hand, she knew 
everything about everybody! And sewing- 
machiiles ought, really, to be introduced as soon 
as the wedding was celebrated. Potugin bowed 
himself off: Litvfnoff took his ladies hcnhe. As 
they entered the hotel, a note was handed to him: 
he stepped aside, and hastily tore off the envel- 
ope. On a small scrap of vellum paper stood the 
following words, scribbled in pencil: " Come to 
me this evening, for a moment, at seven o'clock, 
I beg of you. Irina.*' Litvfnoff thrust the paper 
into his pocket, and as he turned round he smiled 

215 



SMOKE 

again • • • • at whom? why ? Tatyiuia was stand* 
ing with her back to him. 

The dinner took place at the general tuble. 
Litvinoff sat between Kapitolina Markovna and 
Taty^na, and having grown rather strangely 
vivacious, chatted, narrated anecdotes, poured^ 
out wine for himself and for the ladies. He 
bore himself with so much freedom of manner 
that a French infantry officer from Strassburg, 
with a goatee and moustache a la Napoleon III, 
who sat opposite, found it possible to join in the 
conversation, and even wound up with a toast 
a la santi des belles moscovitesl After dinner 
Litvfnoff escorted the two ladies to their room, 
and after standing for a short time by the win- 
dow, with frowning brows, he suddenly an- 
noimced that he must absent himself for a little 
while on business, but would return, without fail, 
later in the evening. Tatyana said nothing, 
turned pale, and dropped her eyes. Kapitolina 
Markovna had a habit of taking a nap after 
dinner; Tatydna kijew that Litvinoff was aware 
of this habit of her aunt's: she had expected that 
he would take advantage of it, that he would re- 
main, as he had not yet been alone with her, had 
not talked frankly with her, since their arrival. 
And here he was going off 1 How was she to un- 
derstand that? And, altogether, his whole con- 
duct in the course of the day .... 

Litvfnoff made haste to depart, without await- 
216 



SMOKE 

ing any objections; Kapitolina Markovna lay 
down on the divan and, after sighing and draw- 
ing a couple of deep breaths, fell into an untrou- 
bled sleep; but Tatydna went away to a comer 
and seated herself in an arm-chair, with her arms 
tightly folded on her breast. 



fl7 



XIX 

LiTYiNOFF briskly ascended the stairs of the 
Hotel de TEurope. . . A young girl of thirteen, 
with a cunning little Kalmyk face, who, evi- 
dently, was lying in wait for him, stopped him, 
saying to him in Russian, '' This way, please; 
Irina Pavlovna will be here directly." He. 
glanced at her with surprise. She smiled, re- 
peated, " If you please, if you please," and led 
him into a small room which was opposite Irina's 
bedroom, and filled with travelling coffers and 
trunks, then immediately vanished, closing the 
door softly behind her. Litvinoff had not suc- 
ceeded in taking a survey when the same door 
swiftly opened and Irina made her appearance, 
in a pink ball-gown, with pearls in her hair and on 
her neck. She fairly flung herself at him, seized 
him by both hands, and remained speechless for 
i several moments; her eyes beamed and her bosom 
heaved, as though she had been running up a hill. 
" I could not receive .... you there,"— she 
began, in a hiu-ried whisper;—" we are going im- 
mediately to a formal dinner, but I felt that it 
was imperatively necessary that I should see you. 
. . . That was your betrothed, of course, with 
whom I met j^ou to-day? " 

21« 



SMOKE 

" Yes, that wm my betrothed,"— said Litvf- 
Doff, laying special emphasis on the word '' was." 

" Exactly, and so I wished to see you for a 
moment, in order to tell you that you must con- 
sider yourself entirely free, that all that which 
took place yesterday ought not, in the least, to 
alter your decision. ..." 

"Irina I "—exclaimed Litvlnoff :— " why dost 
thou say this? " 

He spoke the words in a loud voice. . . . Bound- 
less passion rang out in them. For a moment 
Irina involuntarily closed her eyes. 

" Oh, my dear one! "—she went on, in a still 
softer whisper, but with uncontrollable impulsive- 
ness:— "thou dost not know how I love thee, but 
yesterday I only paid my debt, I expiated a 
fault of the past. . . Akhl I could not give thee 
my youth, as I would have liked to do, but I im- 
posed no obligations upon thee, I did not release 
thee from any promise, my darling! Do as thou 
wilt: thou art free as air; thou art in no wise 
bound; understand that! Understand it!" 

" But I cannot live without thee, Irfna,"— Lit- 
vinoff interrupted her, now in a whisper.—" I am 

thine forever and forever, since yesterday 

Only at thy feet can I breathe. ..." 

He tremblingly pressed himself against her 
arms. Irina gazed at his bowed head. 

"Well, then, thou must know,"— she said,— 
" that I am ready for anything, that I will regret 

219. 



SMOKE 

nobody and nothing. As thou dost decide, so 

shall it be. I also am thine forever 

thine." 

Some one knocked cautiously at the door. 
Irina bent over, whispered once more, " Thine. 
.... Farewell!" Litvinoff felt her breath on 
his hair, and the touch of her lips. When he 
straightened himself up she was no longer in the 
room, only her gown was to be heard rustling in 
the corridor, and Ratmiroff 's voice was audible 
in the distance, '^ Eh bien? Vous ne venez 
pas?'' 

Litvfnoff sat down on a tall trunk and covered 
his face. A feminine odour, delicate and fresh, 
was wafted over him. Irina had held his hands 
in her hands. " This is too much .... too 
much," he said to himself. The young girl en- 
tered the room, and smiling again in response to 
his troubled glance, she said: 

" Please go, sir, while " 

He rose and left the hotel. An immediate re- 
turn home was not to be thought of: he must re- 
cover his senses. His heart was beating slowly 
and unevenly; the earth seemed to be moving 
faintly under his feet. Litvinoff again directed 
his steps to Lichtenthal Avenue. He compre- 
hended that the decisive moment had arrived, 
that it had become impossible to delay any longer, 
to dissimulate, to turn aside, that an explanation 
with Tatyana was inevitable; he pictured to him- 

220 



SMOKE 

self how she was sitting there without moving 
and waiting for him ... he foresaw what he 
would say to her; but how was he to set about it, 
how was he to begin? He had renounced all his 
regular, well-arranged, orderly future: he knew 
that he meant to fling himself headlong into the 
whirlpool, into which it was not proper to glance; 
. • . but this did not disturb him. That affair 
was ended, and how was he to present himself 
before his judge? And even if his judge were to 
meet him, as it were an angel with a flaming 
sword: it would be easier for his guilty heart. . . . 
but otherwise, he himself would be obliged to 
drive the dagger home. . . . Horrible! But turn 
back, renounce that other, take advantage of the 
liberty which was promised him, which was recog- 
nised as his right . . . No! It would be better to 
die! No, he would none of that shameful lib- 
erty; . . . but he would abase himself in the 
dust, and in order that those eyes might incline 
with love .... 

"Grigory Mikhaflitchl"— said a mournful 
voice, and a hand was laid heavily on Litvinoff . 

He glanced round, not without alarm, and be- 
held Potugin. 

"Excuse me, Grigdry Mikhaflitch,'^— began 
the latter, with his customary grimace;— " per- 
haps I startled you, but, catching a glimpse of 
you from afar, I thought . . . However, if you 
do not feel Uke talking to me . . . ." 

221 



SMOKE 

" On the contrary, I am very glad,''— muttered 
Litvlnoff through his teeth. 

Potugin walked along by his side. 

" It is a beautiful evening,"— he began:—" so 
warm I Have you been walking long? " 

" No, not long." 

" But why do I ask? I saw you come out of the 
Hotel de TEurope." 

" So you have been following me? " 

"Yes." 

" Have you anything to say to me? " 

" Yes, "—repeated Potdgin in a barely audible 
voice. 

Litvfnoff halted and gazed at his unbidden 
companion. His face was pale, his eyes were 
roving; ancient, long-past grief seemed to start 
forth upon his distorted features. 

" What, precisely, is it that you wish to say to 
me? "—said Litvfnoff slowly, and again moved 
onward. 

" Permit me ... I will tell you at once. If 
it is all the same to you,— let us sit down on this 
bench here. It will be more convenient." 

" But it is something private,"— said Litvfnoff, 
as he sat down beside him. " You do not seem 
like yourself, Soz6nt IvAnitch." 

" Yes, I 'm all right; and there is nothing pri- 
vate about it. In fact, I wished to inform you . . . 
of the impression which your betrothed has pro- 
duced on me . . . for she is your betrothed bride, 

222 



SMOKE 

I beKeve? . . • Well, in a word, that young girl 
to whom you introduced me to-day: I must say 
that never, in the whole course of my life, have 
I met so sympathetic a person. She— has a heart 
of gold, a truly angelic soul/' 

Pottigin uttered all these words with the same 
bitter and afflicted aspect, so that even Litvinoff 
could not fail to observe the contradiction between 
the expression of his face and his remarks. 

" You have judged Tatyina Petr6vna with en- 
tire justice,"— began Litvfnoff;—** although I 
am bound to feel astonished, in the first place, 
that you are acquainted with my relations to her, 
and, in the second place, that you have so speedily 
divined her. She reaUy has an angelic soul; but 
allow me to inquire if that is what you wished to 
talk to me about? " 

" She cannot be divined at once,"— responded 
Potugin, as though avoiding the last question:— 
" one must look into her eyes. She deserves every 
possible happiness on earth, and enviable is the 
lot of that man whose fate it shall be to procure 
her that happiness! We must wish that he will 
prove worthy of such a fate." 

Litvinoff frowned slightly. 

" Excuse me, Soz6nt Ivdnitch,"— he said:—" I 
must confess that I find your conversation de- 
cidedly original. ... I should like to know: does 
the hint which your words contain refer to 
me?" 

228 



SMOKE 

Potiigin did not immediately reply to Litvi- 
noff ; evidently, he was struggling with himself. 

"Grigory Mikhaflitch,"— he began at last, 
— " either I am entirely mistaken in you, or you 
are in a condition to hear the truth, from whom- 
soever it may come, and under whatsoever un- 
sightly cover it may present itself. I just told 
you that I had seen whence you came." 

"Well, yes— from the Hotel de TEurope. 
And what of that? '' 

" Of course I know whom you saw there! ** 

" What? " 

" You saw Madame Ratmfroff." 

" Well, yes; I was with her. What more? ** 

" What more? . . . You are the af&anced hus- 
band of Tatyana Petr6vna; you have had a meet- 
ing with Madame Ratmiroff, whom you l6ve 
.... and who loves you.*' 

Litvinoff instantly rose from the bench; the 
blood flew to his head. 

" What *s that? "—he said at last, in a wrath- 
ful, choking voice:—" is this an insipid jest, or 
spying? Be so good as to explain yourself." 

Potiigin cast a dejected glance at him. 

" Akh I Do not take offence at my words, Gri- 
gory Mikhaflitch; you cannot insult me. It 
was not for that that I began this conversation 
with you, and I am in no mood for jesting now." 

" Possibly, possibly. I am ready to believe in 
the purity of your intentions; but, nevertheless, 

224 



SMOKE 

I shall permit myself to ask you, by what right 
do you meddle with my private affairs, with the 
heart-life of a stranger, and on what grounds do 
you set forth your .... fiction, with so much 
self-confidence, for the truth? " 

" My fiction! If I had invented that you 
would not have got angry 1 and as for my right, 
I have never yet heard of a man putting to him- 
self the question: whether he had the right to 
stretch forth a hand to a drowning person." 

" I thank you humbly for your solicitude," re- 
torted Litvinoff angrily,—" only I do not stand 
in the slightest need of it, and all these phrases 
about perdition prepared by fashionable ladies 
for inexperienced youths, about the immorality 
of the highest society and so forth, I regard as 
merely phrases, and even, in a certain sense, I 
despise them; and therefore, I must request you 
not to inconvenience your saving right hand, and 
allow me to drown in all quietness." 

Again Potiigin raised his eyes to Litvinoff. 
He was breathing heavily, his lips were twitching. 

" Well, look at me, young man,"— he burst out 
at last, and he smote himself on the breast:—" do 
I look like an ordinary, self-complacent moralist, 
a preacher? Cannot you understand that, out of 
mere sympathy for you, no matter how strong 
that might be, I would never have uttered a word, 
would not have given you the right to reproach 
me for that which I hate more than anything else 

22o 



SMOKE 

I —for indiscretion, for intrusiveness? Do not you 
see that the matter here is of a totally different 
nature— that before you is a man who has been 
crushed, ruined, definitively annihilated by the 
very same feeling, from the consequences of 
which he would like to save you, and .... for 
the very same woman! " 

Litvinoff retreated a pace. 

" Is it possible! what have you said. . . . You 
. . . you . . . Soz6nt Ivdnitch? But Madame 
Byelsky . . . that child ....** 

'* Akh, do not question me • . . trust me! 
That dark, terrible story I will not tell you. I 
hardly knew Madame Byelsky; the child is not 
mine, but I took entire charge of her .... be- 
cause .... because she wished it, because it was 
necessary for her. Why should I be here, in 
your repulsive Baden? And, in conclusion, do 
you suppose, could you, for one moment, have 
imagined that I had made up my mind to warn 
you out of S3rmpathy? I am sorry for that kind, 
good young girl, your betrothed; but, however, 
what business have I with your future, with both 
of you? . . . But I fear for her . . . for her.** 

" You do me much honour, Mr. Potdgin,**— 
began Litvfnoff,— " but since, according to your 
words, we are both in the same situation, why do 
not you read the same sort of exhortations to 
yourself. And ought not I to attribute your 
fears to another sentiment? " 

226 



SMOKE 

" That is, to jealousy, you mean to say? Ekh, 
young man, young man, you ought to be ashamed 
to shuffle and shift; you ought to be ashamed not 
to understand what bitter woe now speaks 
through my mouth I No, you and I are not in the 
same situation I I, I— am an old, ridiculous, ut« 
terly harmless eccentric fellow . . . but you I 
But what is the use of talking? Not for one sec- 
ond would you consent to take upon yourself the 
role which I am playing, and playing with grati- 
tude! And jealousy? The man who has not a 
single drop of hope is not jealous, and this would 
not be the first time that I have had occasion to 
experience that emotion. I am only terrified . . . 
terrified for her, understand that. And could I 
foresee, when she sent me to you, that the feeling 
of guilt, which she admitted to be hers, would 
lead her so far? " 

" But permit me, Soz6nt Ivinitch, you seem to 
know ..." 

" I know nothing, and I know everjiliing. I 
know,"— he added, and turned his head away.— 
" I know where she was last night. But she is not 
to be restrained now: like a stone that has been 
hurled, she must roll to the bottom. I should be 
a still greater fool if I were to imagine that my 
words would immediately arrest you . . . you, to 
whom such a woman .... But enough on that 
score. I could not restrain myself, that is my sole 
excuse. Yes, and, in conclusion, how was I to 

22t 



SMOKE 

know, and why should I not make the attempt? 
Perhaps you will think better of it, perhaps some 
word of mine will fall into your soul. You will 
not wish to ruin her and yourself, and that inno- 
cent, lovely creature. . . Akh, be not angry, do 
not stamp your footl Why should I be afraid— 
why should I stand on ceremony? It is not jeal- 
ousy which is speaking in me now, nor irritation. 
. . I am ready to fall at your feet, to entreat 
you. . . But farewell. Have no fear: all this 
will remain a secret. I have wished your good." 

Potugin strode along the avenue, and soon dis- 
appeared in the already descending gloom. . . . 
Litvinoff did not detain him. 

" A terrible, dark story,"— Potugin had said to 
Litvinoff, and had not been willing to narrate it. 
.... And we will touch upon it in a couple of 
words only. 

Eight years previous to this time he had hap- 
pened to be temporarily ordered by his Ministry 
to Count Reisenbach. The affair took place in 
the summer. Potugin had been in the habit of 
driving out to his villa with documents, and spent 
whole days in this manner. Irina was then living 
with the Count. She never disdained persons of 
inferior positions, at all events, she never shunned 
them, and the Countess had repeatedly scolded 
her for her superfluous Moscow familiarity. Irina 
speedily divined the clever man in this humble 
official, clothed in uniform, in a coat buttoned to 

228 



SMOKE 

the throat. She chatted with him frequently and 
gladly . . . and he ... he fell in love with her, 
passionately, profoundly, secretly. . . Secretly! 
He thought so. 

The summer passed. The Count ceased to re- 
quire an outside assistant. Potiigin lost sight of 
Irfna, but could not forget her. Three years later 
he quite unexpectedly received an invitation 
from one of his acquaintances, a lady of me- 
diocre standing. This lady was somewhat em- 
barrassed, at first, to express her meaning, but 
after having extracted from him an oath that he 
would maintain the greatest secrecy in regard to 
everjrthing which he should hear, she proposed to 
him . . . that he should marry a certain young 
girl who occupied a prominent position in so- 
ciety, and for whom marriage had become indis- 
pensable. The lady could hardly make up her 
mind to hint at the principal in the affair, and 
then and there offered Potiigin money ... a 
great deal of money. Potiigin did not take of- 
fence,— amazement overwhelmed his feeling of 
wrath,— but, as a matter of course, he gave a 
{ downright refusal. Then the lady handed him a 
\ note addressed to him— from Irina. " You are a 
noble, kind man," she wrote,—** and I know that 
you will do anything for me ; I ask this sacrifice of 
you. You will save a being who is dear to me. 
In saving her, you will save me also. . . Do not 
ask . • . how. I could not have brought myself 

220 



SMOKE 

to apply to any one with such a request, but I do 
stretch out my hands to you, and say: * Do this 
for my sake/ " Potugin reflected, and said that, 
in fact, he was ready to do a great deal for Irma 
Pivlovna, but would like to hear her wish from 
her own lips. The meeting took place that same 
evening: it did not last long, and no one knew 
about it, except the lady. Irina was no longer 
living at Count Reisenbach's. 

" Why did you think of me, in particular? "— 
Potugin asked her. 

She was on the point of enlarging upon his fine 
qualities, but suddenly paused. . . 

" No,**— she said,—" I must tell you the truth. 
I knew— I know that you love me: this is why J 
decided upon it. . . . " And thereupon she told 
him everything. 

Eliza Byelsky was an orphan; her relatives did 
not like her, and were counting upon her inherit- 
ance . . . ruin stared her in the face. By sav- 
ing her, Irina really was rendering a service to the 
man who was the cause of it all, and who had now 
come to stand very dose to her, Irina. . . Potu- 
gin gazed silently and long at Irina, and con- 
sented. She fell to weeping, and all in tears, 
flung herself on his neck. And he also began to 
weep ^ . . but their tears were diff'erent. Every- 
thing was already prepared for a secret marriage, 
a powerful hand had swept aside all obstacles. • . 
But illness ensued • . • and a daughter was bom, 

280 



SMOKE 

) and the mother— poisoned herself. What was to 
be done with the child ? Potiigin took it under his 
charge from the same hands, from the hands of 
Irina. 

A terrible, dark story. • . Let us pass on, 
reader, let us pass onl 

Over an hour more elapsed before Litvinoff 
made up his mind to return to his hotel. He was 
already drawing near to it, when he suddenly 
heard footsteps behind him. Some one appeared 
to be persistently following him, and walking 
faster when he accelerated his pace. As he came 
under a street-lamp, Litvinoff glanced round, 
and recognised General Ratmiroff. In a white 
necktie, and an elegant overcoat thrown open on 
the breast, with a row of tiny stars and crosses on 
a golden chain, in the buttonhole of his evening 
coat, the general was returning from the dinner 
alone. His glance, directly and boldly riveted 
upon Litvinoff, expressed such scorn and such 
hatred, his whole figure breathed forth such an 
importunate challenge, that Litvinoff considered 
it his duty to advance to meet him, summoning 
his courage to advance to meet that " row." But, 
on coming alongside of Litvinoff, the general's 
face instantly underwent a change: again his 
wonted playful elegance made its appearance, 
and his hand, in its pale lilac glove, raised his 
shining hat on high. Litvinoff silently took off! 
his, and each went his way. 

281 



SMOKE 

''Assuredly, He has noticed something!'*— 
thought Litvinoff . " If only ... it were any 
other person! " thought the general. 

Tatydna was playing picquet with her aunt» 
when Litvfnoff entered their room. 

" Well, you are a nice one, my dear fellow I " — 
exclaimed Kapit61ina Mdrkovna, and flung her 
cards on the tabk:— " on the very first day you 
have disappeared, and for the entire evening I 
Here we have been waiting and waiting for you, 
scolding and scolding. . ." 

" I have not said anything, aunty,"— remarked 
Tatydna. 

" Well, everybody knows what a submissive 
creature you are! Shame on you, my dear sir I 
And a betrothed bridegroom, to boot! " 

Litvinoff excused himself, after a fashion, and 
seated himself at the table. 

" Why have you stopped playing? "—he asked, 
after a brief silence. 

" That 's just the point ! She and I play cards 
out of ennui when there is nothing to do ... . 
but now you have come." 

" If you would like to listen to the evening eon- 
cert,"— said Litvinoff,—" I will take you with 
great pleasure." 

Kapit61ina Mdrkovna looked at her niece. 

" Let us go, aunty, I am ready,"— said the lat- 
ter,— "but would it not be better to remain at 
home? " 

282 



SMOKE 

" The very thing! Let us drinK tea, in our own 
Moscow fashion, with a samovar; and let 's have 
a good talk. We have n't yet had a thoroughly 
good chat." 

Litvinoff ordered tea to be brought, but they 
did not succeed in having a good talk. He ex- 
perienced an incessant gnawing of conscience; no 
matter what he said, it always seemed to him as 
though he were lying, and that Tatydna divined 
it. But, in the meanwhile, no change was per- 
ceptible in her; she bore herself with as little con- 
straint as ever .... only, her glance never once 
rested on Litvinoff, but slipped over him in a con- 
descending and timid sort of way— and she was 
paler than usual. 

Kapitolina Markovna asked her whether she 
had not a headache? 

At first Tatyana was on the point of answer- 
ing "No," but changed her mind, and said: 
" Yes, a little." 

" It is from the journey,"— said Litvinoff, and 
fairly blushed with shame. 

" It is from the journey,"— repeated Tatyana, 
and again her glance glided over him. 

" You must rest, Tdnetchka." 

" I shall go to bed soon, aunty." 

On the table lay the " Guide des Voyageurs " ; 
Litvinoff began to read aloud the description of 
the environs of Baden. 

" AH that is so,"— Kapitolina Mdrkovna inter- 
283 



SMOKE 

rupted him*,— "but one thing we must not forget. 
They say that linen is very cheap here, so we 
might buy some for the trousseau.'* 

Tatydna dropped her eyes. 

" There is plenty of time, aunty. You never 
think of yourself. But you certainly must have a 
new gown made. You see how finely dressed 
every one is here." 

"Eh, my darling 1 Why should I? What sort 
of a fashionable figure-plate should I make? It 
would be all right if I were as beautiful as that 
acquaintance of yours, Grig6ry Mikhailitch — 
what in the world is her name? " 

" What acquaintance? " 

" Why, the one we met to-day." 

"Ah, that onel"— said Litvfnoff*, with simu- 
lated indifi^erence, and again he felt odious and 
ashamed. "No!" he said to himself, "things 
cannot go on in this wayl " 

He was sitting by the side of his betrothed, and 
a few inches away from her, in his pocket, was 
Irina's handkerchief. 

Kapit61ina Mdrkovna went into the next room 
for a moment. 

" Tdnya . . . ."—said Litvinofi^, with an ef- 
fort. He called her by that name for the first 
time that day. 

She turned toward him. 

" I . . . . have something important to say to 
you." 

284. 



SMOKE 

"Ahl ReaUy? When? Immediately?" 

" No, to-morrow." 

" Ahl To-morrow. Well, very good." 

Boundless pity immediately filled LitvinoflTs 
soul. He took Tatydna's hand and kissed it sub- 
missively, like a guilty man; her heart contracted 
silently, and that kiss did not make her rejoice. 

That night, at two o'clock, Kapit61ina Mdr* 
kovna, who slept in the same room with her niece, 
suddenly raised her head and listened. 

" Tdnya! "—she said:—" are you crying? " 

Tatydna did not immediately reply. 

" No, aunty,"— her gentle little voice made it- 
self heard;—" I have a cold in the head." 



285 



XX 

" Why did I say that? " thought Litvfnoff, on 
the following morning, as he sat in front of the 
window in his own room. He shrugged his shoul- 
ders with vexation: he had said it to Tatydna 
precisely for the purpose of cutting off all retreat 
from himself. On the window-sill lay a note 
from Irfna: she summoned him to her at eleven 
o'clock. Potugin's words incessantly recurred, to 
his memory; then they rushed past with an omi- 
nous, though feeble, rather subterranean roar; he 
waxed angry, and could not, in any way, rid him- 
self of them. Some one knocked at the door. 

" Wer da? ''— inquired Litvfnoff. 

" Ahl You are at homel Open! "—rang out 
Bindasoff's hoarse bass voice. 

The handle of the door rattled. 

Litvfnoff turned pale with wrath. 

" I am not at home,"— he said sharply. 

" Why are n't you at home? What sort of a 
jest is this? " 

" I tell you— I am not at home; take yourself 
off." 

" That 's amiable of youl And I came to bor- 
row money,"— growled Bindasoff. 

286 



SMOKE 

But he withdrew, clacking his heels, as usual. 

Litvinoff almost rushed out after him, so great 
was his desire to break the neck of that disgust- 
ing, insolent fellow. The events of the last few 
days had deranged his nerves: a little more, and 
he would have wept. He drank a glass of cold 
water, locked all the drawers in the furniture, 
without knowing why he did so, and went to Ta- 
tydna. 

He found her alone— Kapit61ina Mdrkovna 
had betaken herself to the shops to make pur- 
chases. Tatydna was sitting on the divan, and 
holding a book with both hands; she was not read- 
ing it, and even hardly knew what book it was. 
She did not stir, but her heart was beating vio- 
lently in her breast, and the white collar round her 
neck quivered perceptibly and regularly. 

Litvinoff was disconcerted . • . but he sat down 
beside her, bade her good morning, and smiled; 
and she smiled silently at him. She had bowed to 
him when he entered, bowed politely, not in a 
friendly manner— and had not looked at him. He 
offered her his hand; she gave him her cold fin- 
gers, immediately disentangled them, and re- 
turned to her book. Litvinoff felt that to begin 
the conversation with trivial subjects would be 
equivalent to offering Tatydna an affront; ac- 
cording to her wont, she demanded nothing, but 
everything in her said : " I am waiting, I am wait- 
ing. . •" He must fulfil his promise. But, al- 

287 



SMOKE 

though he had thought of nothing else aknost all 
night, he had not prepared even the first intro- 
ductory words, and positively did not know how 
to break that cruel silence. 

" TAnya/'— he began at last,—" I told you yes- 
terday that I have something important to com- 
municate to you ** (in Dresden, when he was 
alone with her, he had begun to address her as 
"thou," but now such a thing was not to be 
thought of) . " I am ready, only, I beg you in 
advance, not to blame me, and to feel assured that 
my feelings for you . . • ." 

He halted. He had lost his breath. Still Ta- 
tydna never moved, nor did she glance at him : she 
merely grasped her book more firmly than be- 
fore. 

" Between us,"— went on Litvinoff, without 
completing the speech he had begun,—" between 
us there has always been perfect frankness; I re- 
spect you too much to resort to double dealing 
with you ; I want to prove to you that I prize the 
loftiness and freedom of your soul, and although 
I . . although, of course . . . ." 

"Grig6ry Mikhaflitch,'*— began Tatydna in 
an even voice, and her whole face became over- 
spread with a death-like pallor,—" I will come to 
your assistance: you have ceased to love me, and 
you do not know how to tell me that." 

Litvinoff involuntarily shuddered. 

"Why?"— he said, almost inaudibly,— " why 
288 



SMOKE 

should you think that? ... I really do not un- 
derstand. • •" 

" Well, is it not the truth? Is it not the truth? 
tell mel tell me!" 

Tatyana turned her whole body toward Litvf- 
noff; her face, with its hair thrown back, ap- 
proached his face, and her eyes, which had not 
looked at him for so long, fairly devoured his 
eyes. 

" Is it not true? "—she repeated. 

He said nothing, did not utter a single sound. 
He could not have lied at that mcHnent, even if 
he had known that she would believe him, and that 
his lie would save her; he was not even capable of 
enduring her gaze. Litvinoff said nothing, but 
she no longer needed an answer; she read the an- 
swer in his silence, in those guilty, downcast eyes, 
—and threw herself back, and dropped her book. 
. . . She had still doubted, up to that moment, 
and Litvinoff understood this; he understood that 
she still doubted— and how repulsive, actually re- 
pulsive, was everything that he had done! 

He threw himself on his knees before her. 

"Tdnyal"— he exclaimed:— "if I had known 
how painful it would be to me to behold you in 
this situation, how frightful it would be to me to 
think that it is I . ... II My heart is lacerated; 
I do not know myself; I have lost myself and 
thee, and everything. . . . Everything is ruined, 
iTdnya, everything! Could I have foreseen that I 

28a 



SMOKE 

• • I would deal such a blow to thee, my best 
friend, my guardian angel 1 . . . Could I have 
foreseen that thou and I would meet, would pass 
such a day as yesterday! . . ." 

Tatydna tried to rise and withdraw. He de- 
tained her by the hem of her gown. 

" No; listen to me for another minute. Thou 
seest, I am kneeling before thee. But I have not 
come to ask forgiveness,— thou canst not and 
must not forgive me ; I have come to tell thee that 
thy friend has gone to destruction, that he is fall- 
ing into the abyss, and does not wish to drag thee 
i down with him. . . . But save me ... no 1 even thou 
canst not save me. I myself would have re- 
pulsed thee. ... I have perished, Tanya, I have 
perished irrevocably! " 

Tatyana looked at Litvinoff. 

"You have perished! "—she said, as though 
she did not fully understand him.—" You have 
perished?" 

" Yes, Tanya, I have perished. All that is 
past, all that is dear, all that has heretofore con- 
stituted my life,— has perished for me; every- 
thing is ruined, everything is torn away, and I 
know not what awaits me in the future. . Thou 
didst tell me immediately that I had ceased to 
love thee. . . No, Tdnya, I have not ceased to 
love thee, but another, a terrible, irresistible 
feeling has descended upon me, has flooded me. 
I resisted it as long as I was able. ..." 

240 



SMOKE 

Tatydna rose; her brows were contracted, her 
pale face had darkened. Litvfnoff also rose. 

" You have fallen in love with another 
woman/'— she began,—" and I divine who she is. 
. • We met her yesterday, did we not? Very well! 
I know now what remains for me to do. As you 
yourself say that this feeling is unalterable in 
you . . ." (Tatydna paused for an instant: per- 
haps she still hoped that Litvfnoff would not 
let this last word pass without a reply, but he 
said nothing) '' all there is left for me to do is 
to give you back • . . your word." Litvfnoff 
bent his head, as though submissively accepting 
a merited blow. 

" You have a right to be angry with me,"— he 
said,—" you have a perfect right to reproach 
me with pusiUanimity . • . with deceit." 

Again Taty^na looked at him. 

" I have not reproached you, Litvfnoff; I do 
not accuse you. I agree with you: the very bit- 
terest truth is better than what went on yesterday. 
What a life ours would have been under present 
circumstances!" 

" What a life mine will be under present cir- 
cumstances!" echoed painfully in Litvfnoff's 
soul. 

Tatyina approached the door of the bedroom. 

" I beg that you will leave me alone for a time, 
Grig6ry Mikhaflitch,— we shall meet again, we 
shall talk together again. All this has been 

241 



SMOKE 

so unexpected. I must collect my forces • • • • 
leave me . . • spare my pride. We shall see eadi 
other again.'' 

And having said these words, Tatydna hastily 
left the room and locked the door after her. 
Litvlnoff went out into the street as though 
I confused, stimned; something dark and heavy 
I had taken root in the very depths of his heart; a 
man who has cut another man's throat must ex- 
perience a similar sensation, and, at the same time, 
he felt relieved, as though he had at last cast off 
I a hateful burden. Tatydna's magnanimity an- 
nihilated him; he was vividly conscious of all that 
he had lost . . • and what then? Vexation was 
mingled with his repentance; he longed for 
Irina, as the sole refuge left him,— and was 
angry with her. For some time past, and with 
every succeeding day, Litvfnoff's feelings had 
been becoming more and more powerful and 
complex; this complication torttu*ed, irritated 
him; he felt lost in this chaos. He thirsted for 
one thing: to come out, at last, on a road, on any 
road whatever, if only he might no longer whirl 
around in this unintelligible twilight. Positive 
people, like Litvinoff, ought not to get car- 
ried away by passion; it destroys the very mean- 
ing of their lives. . . But nature asks no questions 
about logic, our human logic; she has her own, 
which we do not understand and do not recognise 
until it rolls over us, like a wheel. 

242 



SMOKE 

' After parting from Tatyana, Litvinoff held 
one thought finnly in his mind: to see Irina; and 
he set out for her abode. But the general was 
at home,— at least, so the porter told him,— and 
he did not care to enter; he did not feel himself 
in a condition to dissimulate, and strolled off to 
the Konversationshaus. Litvinoff's incapacity 
for dissimulation was experienced that day by 
Voroshfloff and Pishtchdlkin, who chanced to 
encounter him: he fairly told one of them point- 
blank that he was as empty as a tambourine; the 
other, that he was tiresome enough to make a man 
swoon; it was a good thing that Binddsoff did 
not turn up: a "grosser Scandal" certainly 
would have ensued. Both young men were 
amazed; Voroshfloff even asked himself whether 
his honour as an officer did not demand repara- 
tion?— but, like GNSgoFs lieutenant Pirogoff, he 
soothed himself in the cafe with bread and butter. 
Litvinoff caught a distant glimpse of Kapitolina 
Mdrkovna, busily running from shop to shop in 
her motley mantle. . . He felt ashamed before 
the kind, ridiculous, noble old woman. Then he 
recalled Potugin and their conversation of the 
preceding day. . . . But now some influence was 
breathing upon him, something impalpable and 
indubitable; had the exhalation emanated from 
a falling shadow, it could not have been more 
intangible. But he immediately felt that Irina 
was approaching. And in fact, she appeared at 

248 



SMOKE 

a distance of a few paces, arm in arm with another 
lady ; their eyes instantly met. Irma, in all proba- 
bility, noticed something unusual in the expres- 
sion of Litvfnoff's face; she halted in front of a 
shop, in which a mass of tiny wooden clocks of 
Schwarzwald manufacture were on sale, sum- 
moned him to her by a movement of her head, 
and pointing out one of these clocks to him, and 
requesting him to admire the pretty dial-plate, 
with a painted cuckoo at the top, she said, not in a 
whisper, but in her ordinary voice, as though com- 
pleting a phrase which had been begun— whidi at- 
tracts less attention from strangers: 

'' Come an hour hence, I shall be at home and 
alone." 

But at this point, that squire of dames, Mon- 
^ sieur Verdier, fluttered up to her, and began to 
go into ecstasies over the feuille morte tint of her 
gown, over her low-crowned Spanish hat, which 
was pulled down to her very eyebrows. . . Litvi- 
noff vanished in the crowd. 



244 






XXI 



" Grigory,"— said Irina to him, two hours 
later, as she sat beside him on the couch and laid 
both her hands on his shoulders,—" What is the 
matter with thee? Tell me now, quickly, while 
we are alone." 

" With me? "-said Litvinoff--" I am happy, 
happy, that is what is the matter with me." 

Irina dropped her eyes, smiled, sighed. 

" That is not an answer to my question, my 
dear one. " 

Litvfnoff reflected. 

" Well, then, thou must know . • . since thou 
imperatively demandest it" (Irina opened her 
eyes very widely, and drew back a little) : " I 
have to-day told my betrothed everything." 

" What dost thou mean by everything? Didst 
thou mention my name? " 

" Irina, for God's sake, how could such a 
thought enter thy head! that I . . . ." 

Litvfnoff actually clasped his hands. 

" Well, forgive me ... . forgive me. What 
didst thou say? " 

" I told her that I no longer loved her." 

"Did she ask why?" 
• 245 



SMOKE 

'' I did not conceal from her the fact that I 
loved another, and that we must part." 

" Well • . . and how about her? Did she con- 
sent?" 

" Akh, Irina, what a girl she isl She is all self- 
isacrifice, all nobility! " 

" I believe it, I believe it . . however, there was 
nothing else left for her to do." 

'' And not a single reproach, not a single bit- 
ter word to me, to the man who has spoiled her 
whole life, who has deceived her, pitilessly 
abandoned her. • •" 

Irina inspected her finger-nails. 

" Tell me, Grig6ry, did she love thee? " 

" Yes, Irina, she did love me." 

Irfna said nothing, but smoothed her gown. 

" I must confess,"— she began,—" that I do 
not quite understand why thou hast taken it into 
thy head to have an explanation with her." 

" How is it that thou dost not understand it, 
Irmal Is it possible that thou wouldst have 
wished to have me lie, dissimulate before her — be- 
fore that pure soul? Or didst thou assume . . . ." 

" I assumed nothmg," interrupted Irina.—" I 
must admit that I have thought very little about 
her. . . I cannot think of two persons at the same 
time." 

" That is, thou intendest to say . . ." 

"Well, and what then? Is she going away, 
that pure soul? "—interrupted Irfna again. 

246 ^ 



SMOKE 

" I know nothing about that,"— replied Litvi- 
noff.— " I must see her again. But she will not 
remain/' 

"Ah! A prosperous journey to herl" 

" No, she will not remain. But neither am I 
thinking of her at present. I am thinking of 
what thou hast said to me, of what thou hast 
promised me." 

Irina cast a sidelong glance at him. 

" Ungrateful ! Art thou still not satisfied ? " 

" No, Irina, I am not satisfied. Thou hast 
made me happy, but I am not satisfied, and thou 
understandest me." 

" That is to say, I . . ." 

" Yes, thou understandest my meaning. 
Recollect thy words, remember what thou hast 
written to me. I cannot share with another; I 
cannot consent to the pitiful role of a secret lover; 
I have cast not my own life only, but another 
life also, at thy feet. I have renounced every- 
thing I have, I have ground everything to dust, 
without compassion and without recall; but, on 
the other hand, I believe, I am firmly convinced, 
that thou also wilt keep thy promise and wilt 
unite thy fate forever to mine. . . /* 

" Thou desirest that I should flee with thee? 
I am ready . . ." (Litvinoff kissed her hands 
with rapture) " I am ready; I do not take back 
my word. But hast thou considered the diflBicul- 
ties . . . hast thou prepared the means? " 

.247. 



SMOKE 

"I? I have not yet had time to consider, or to 
prepare, but say this one thing, ' yes ' ; grant me 
the permission to act, and before a month shall 
have elapsed . . . ." 

"A month! We leave for Italy in a fort- 
night." 

"A fortnight is enough for me. Oh, Irina! 
thou receivest my proposal coldly, to all appear- 
ances ; perhaps it seems to thee fanciful, but I am 
not a boy, I am not accustomed to comfort myself 
with fancies; I know that it is a terrible step, I 
know what a responsibility I am assuming, but I 
see no other issue. Reflect, in short, that I am 
bound to break off all connection with the past, 
in order that I may not bear the reputation of a 
despicable liar in the eyes of that young girl 
whom I have sacrificed for thy sake." 

Irina suddenly drew herself up, and her eyes 
flashed. 

" Well, you must excuse me, Grig6ry Mikhai- 
litch I If I make up my mind to do that, if I flee, 
I shall flee with the man who does it for me, pre- 
cisely for me, and not for the sake of not lowering 
himself in the opinion of a phlegmatic young lady 
who has milk and water, du Icdt coupS, in her 
veins, in place of blood. And I will tell you 
something else, also: I must say that this is the 
first time it has ever been my lot to hear that the 
man to whom I have shown favour is deserving 
of compassion, is playing a sorry part! I know 

248 



SMOKE 

a more pitiful role: the role of a man who does 
not know what is going on in his own soul! " 

It was now Litvinoff 's turn to draw himself 
up. 

" Irina,"— he began. 

But she suddenly pressed both palms to her 
brow, and flinging herself on his breast, with a 
convulsive impulse, embraced him with unfemi- 
nine force. 

" Forgive me, forgive me,"— she said in a 
trembh'ng voice,—" forgive me, Grigory! Thou 
seest how spoiled I am, how hateful, jealous, 
wicked I am! Thou seest how I need thy help, 
thy indulgence! Yes, save me, tear me out of 
this abyss before I perish utterly! Yes, let us flee, 
let us flee from these people, from this society, 
into some distant, free, beautiful land! Perhaps 
thy Irina will become, at last, more worthy of the 
sacrifices which thou art making for her! Be not. 
angry with me, my dearest,— and understand 
that I will do everything which thou commandest; 
I will go anywhere, whithersoever thou leadest 
me!" 

Litvinofi^'s heart was completely upset. Irina 
pressed more violently than ever to him with her 
supple young body. He bent over her dishev- 
elled, perfumed locks, and in an intoxication of 
gratitude and rapture, hardly ventured to caress 
them with his hand, hardly touched them with his 
lips. 

.249 



SMOKE 

" Yes, sir, I am going, as you see." 

Again Ratmfroff swayed his body. 

"Farewell until another pleasant meeting!'* 

" Good-bye, Grigory Mikhaflovitch,"— said 
Irina.— " And I shall keep my promise." 

" What promise? if I may be so curious as to 
inquire? "—asked her husband. 

Irina smiled. 

" No— that is ... a matter between ourselves. 
C'est apropos du voyage . . . oH il vous pUdra. 
Art thou acquainted with Stael's works? " 

" Ah! of course, of course I am. Very pretty 
pictures. . ." 

Ratmiroff appeared to be on good terms with 
his wife: he addressed her as " thou." 



252 



XXII 

" 'Tis better not to think about it,'* Litvinoff kept 
repeating to himself, as he strode along the street, 
and became conscious that the turmoil within him 
was rising once more. " The matter is settled. 
She will keep her promise, and all I have to do 
is to take all the necessary measures. . . But she 
seems to doubt." . . . He shook his head. His 
own intentions presented themselves to him in an 
odd light; there was a touch of strangeness and 
improbability about them. It is not possible to 
dwell long upon one and the same set of thoughts ; 
they gradually shift their places, like bits of glass 
in a kaleidoscope .... and the iSrst one knows, 
the figures before his eyes are totally different. 
A sensation of profound weariness overpowered 
Litvinoff. . . He longed to rest for an hour. . . 
But Tinya? He gave a start, and without re- 
flecting further, submissively wended his way 
home, and the only thing which occurred to him 
was that to-day he was being tossed from one 
woman to another, like a ball. . . It mattered 
not: he had been compelled to make an end of it. 
He entered the hotel, and in the same submissive 
manner, without hesitation or delay, he betook 
himself to Tatyana. 

258 



SMOKE 

He was met by Kapitolina Markovna. With 
his first glunce at her, he recognised the fact that 
she knew everything: the poor spinster's eyes 
were swollen with tears, and her reddened face, 
framed in rmnpled white hair, expressed alarm 
and the pain of indignation, of bmning and 
bomidless amazement. She darted toward 
Litvinoff, but instantly paused, and biting her 
quivering lips, she gazed at him, as though she 
wished to entreat him, and slay him, and convince 
herself that all this was a dream, madness, an im- 
possible affair, was it not? 

" Here, you . . you have come, you have come," 
she began. . . The door leading into the adjoining 
room instantly flew open— and Tatyana, pale to 
transparency, entered with a light step. 

She softly embraced her aimt with one arm, 
and made her sit down by her side. 

" Do you sit down also Grig6ry Mikhaflitdi," 
—she said to Litvfnoff, who was standing, as 
though bewildered, near the door.—" I am very 
glad to see you again. I have communicated 
your decision, our mutual decision, to aunty; she 
shares it entirely, and approves of it. . . With- 
out mutual love there can be no happiness; 
mutual respect alone is not suflScient" (at the 
word "respect" Litvfnoff involuntarily cast 
down his eyes), " and it is better to part before- 
hand, than to repent afterward. Is n*t that true, 
aunty? " 

254 



SMOKE 

"Yes, of course,'*— began Kapit61ina Mir- 
kovna,— " of course, Tdniusha, the man who does 
not know how to value you • . • who has made up 
his mind . • /' 

"Aunty, aunty,"— Tatydna interrupted her, 
—"remember what you promised me. You 
yourself have always said to me: * the truth, the 
truth before everything, and— liberty/ Well, 
and truth is not always sweet, neither is liberty; 
otherwise, wherein would our merit lie? " 

She kissed Kapit61ina Mdrkovna tenderly on 
her white hair, and turning to Litvfnoff she went 
on: 

" My aunt and I have decided to leave Baden. 
. . I think it will be easier so for all of us." 

"When do you think of going?"— said 
Litvfnoff, in a dull voice. He recalled that 
Irfna had said the very same words to him not 
long before. 

Kapit61ina Mdrkovna was on the point of 
starting forward, but Tatydna restrained her, 
touching her lightly on the shoulder. 

" Probably soon, very soon." 

" And will you permit me to inquire whither 
you intend to go? " asked Litvfnoff in the same 
voice as before. 

" First to Dresden, then, probably, to Russia." 

" But what do you want to know that for now, 
Grig6ry Mikhaflitch? " . . exclaimed Kapit61ina 
Mdrkovna. 

255 



SMOKE 

"Aunty, aunty," interposed Tatyana again. 
A brief silence ensued. 

" Tatyana Petrovna,"— began Litvinoff,— 
" you understand what a torturingly— painful 
and sorrowful feeling I must be experiencing at 
this moment. . . ." 

Tatyana rose. 

"Grigory Mikhailitch,"— she said,— " let us 
not talk about that. . . . Please, I entreat you, for 
your own sake as well as for mine. I cannot rec* 
ognise you since yesterday, and I can very well 
imagine that you must be suffering now. But 
what is the use of talking, what is the use of irri- 
tating . . . ." (She paused: it was evident that 
she wished to wait until her rising emotion was 
allayed, to swallow the tears which were already 
welling up; and in this she succeeded.) " What 
is the use of irritating the wound which it is im- 
possible to heal? Let us leave that to time. But 
now I have a request to make of you, Grigory 
Mikhailitch: I will give you a letter presently; 
be so good as to post that letter yourself, it is of 
considerable importance, and aunty and I have 
no time now. ... I shall be very much obliged to 
you. Wait a moment. . . I will return imme- 
diately. ..." 

On the threshold of the door Tatydna cast an 
apprehensive glance at Kapitolina Mdrkovna; 
but the latter was sitting in so dignified and de- 
corous an attitude, with such a severe expression 

256 



SMOKE 

on her frowning brow and tightly-compressed 
lips, that Tatyana only nodded to her, and left the 
room. 

But the door had barely closed behind her, when 
all expression of dignity and severity instanta^ 
neously vanished from the face of Kapit61ina 
Markovna: she rose, rushed up to Litvfnoff on 
tiptoe, and bending double, and striving to look 
into his eyes, she began to speak in a hurried, 
tearful whisper: 

" O Lord my God,"— said she,—" Grig6ry 
Mikhailitch, what is the meaning of this: is it 
a dream? You reject TAnya, you have ceased 
to love her, you have betrayed your word! You 
are doing this, Grig6ry Mikhailitch, you, in 
whom we all had trusted as in a wall of stone! 
You? You? Thou, Grisha? . . ." KapitoHna 
Mdrkovna paused.—" ^Tiy, you are killing her, 
Grig6ry Mikhailitch,"— she went on, without 
awaiting an answer, and her tears fairly streamed, 
in tiny drops, down her cheeks.—" You need not 
regard the fact that she is keeping up her cour- 
age, for you know what her disposition is! She 
never complains; she never pities herself, so others 
must pity her! Here she is now, persuading me: 
* Aunty, we must maintain our dignity! ' but who 
cares about dignity, when I foresee death, death. 
. . ." Tatyana made a noise with a diair in the 
adjoining room.—" Yes, I foresee death,'*— re- 
simied the old woman, in a still softer voice.— 

257 



SMOKE 

" And what can have happened ? Have you been 
bewitched? It was not so very long ago, was it, 
that you were writing her the tenderest sort of 
letters? Yes, and in conclusion, can an honest 
man behave in this manner? I, as you know, am 
a woman wholly devoid of prejudices, esprit fort, 
and I have given Tanya the same sort of educa- 
tion—she, also, has a free spirit. . . ." 

" Aunty! " rang out Tatydna^s voice from the 
next room. 

" But your word of honour,— this is duty, 
Grigory Mikhaflitch. Especially for people with 
your — with our principles! If we do not recog- 
nise duty, what is left to us? That must not be 
violated— in this way, at one's own caprice, with- 
out considering what is to be the result on others! 
This is dishonest . . . yes, it is a crime; what sort 
of freedom is this? " 

" Aunty, come here, please,'*— rang out again. 

" In a minute, my darling, in a minute. . ." 
Kapitolina Mdrkovna seized Litvlnoff by the 
hand.—" I see you are angry, Grig6ry Mikhaf- 
litch. . ." ("I? I am angry?" he tried to ex- 
claim, but his tongue was benumbed. ) " I do not 
wish to make you angry— O Lord! am I in any 
mood for that? On the contrary, I wish to entreat 
you: change your mind while still there is time; 
do not destroy her, do not destroy your own 
happiness; she will trust you again, Grig6ry 
Mikhailitdi, she will trust you again; nothing 

258 



SMOKE 

is lost yet; for she loves you as no one ever will 
love you! Abandon this hateful Baden-Baden, 
let us go away together, only get away from un- 
der this spell, and, the chief thing of all, have 
pity, have pity. . ." 

" But aunty,**— said Tatydna, with a trace of 
impatience in her voice. 

But Kapitolina Mdrkovna did not obey her. 

" Only say yes,"— she persisted to Litvfnoff, 
— " and I will arrange all the rest. . . Come, at 
least nod your head at me! nod your head, just 
once, like this! " Litvfnoff felt as though he 
would gladly have died at that moment; but he 
did not utter the word " yes/' and he did not nod 
his head. 

Tatydna made her appearance, letter in hand. 
Kapit61ina Mdrkovna instantly sprang away 
from Litvfnoff, and turning her face aside, bent 
low over the table, as though she were inspecting 
the bills and papers which lay upon it. 

Tatydna approached Litvfnoff. 

" Here,"— said she,—" this is the letter of 
which I spoke to you. . . You will go immedi- 
ately to the post-office, will you not? " 

Litvfnoff raised his eyes. . . Before him, in 
very truth, stood his judge. Tatydna seemed 
to him taller, more stately; her face, beaming 
with unprecedented beauty, had become magnifi- 
Icently petrified, as in a statue; her bosom did 
not rise and fall, and her gown, uniform in hue, 
^. 259 



SMOKE 

and close-fitting, fell, like a chiton, in the long, 
straight folds of marble fabrics, to her feet, whidh 
it concealed. Tatyana was gazing straight be- 
fore her, at Litvinoff only, and her glance, also 
smooth and cold, was the glance of a statue. In 
it he read his sentence; he bowed, took the letter 
from the hand which was immovably outstretched 
toward him and silently departed. 

Kapit61ina Markovna flew at Tatyana, but the 
latter repulsed her embrace, and dropped her 
eyes; a flush overspread her face, and with the 
words, " Come, as quickly as possible now ! " she 
returned to the bedroom; Kapitolina Mdrkovna 
followed her, with drooping head. 

On the letter intrusted to Litvinofi^ by Ta- 
tyana stood the address of one of her friends 
in Dresden, a German, who let out small, fur- 
nished apartments. Litvinofi^ dropped the letter 
into the post-box, and it seemed to him that, 
along with that little scrap of paper, he had laid 
all his past, his whole life, in the grave. He 
went out of the town, and roamed, for a long 
time, along the narrow paths among the vine- 
yards; he could not rid himself of an incessant 
feeling of scorn for himself, which beset him like 
the buzzing of an importunate summer fly: he 
certainly had played a far from enviable part in 
this last interview. . . . And when he returned to 
the hotel and, a little while later, inquired about 
his ladies, he was informed that immediately 

.260 



SMOKE 

after his departure they had ordered themselves 
to be driven to the railway station, and had set off, 
with the mail-train, no one knew whither. Their 
things had been packed and their bills paid since 
the morning. Tatyana had requested Litvinoff 
to take the letter to the post-office, evidently with 
a view to getting him out of the way. He tried 
to question the door-porter: " Had not the ladies 
left a note for him? " but the porter replied in the 
negative, and even manifested surprise; it was 
plain that this sudden departure from rooms en- 
gaged for a week struck him as strange and sus- 
picious. Litvinoff turned his back on him, and 
locked himself up in his own room. 

He did not leave it until the following day; 
during the greater part of the night he sat at the 
table, writing and tearing up what he had writ- 
ten. . . Daylight had already begun to dawn 
when he finished his work,— which was a letter to 
Irfna. 



261 



XXIII 

This is what the letter to Irfna contained: 

*^Mj betrothed bride went away yesterday: we shall 
never see each other again. . . I do not even know 
with certainty where she will live. She carried away 
with her everything which hitherto had seemed to be 
desirable and precious; all my purposes, plans, inten- 
tions, vanished along with her; my very labours have 
disappeared, my prolonged toil has been turned to 
naught, all my occupations have lost their sense and 
application; all this is dead; my ego^ my former ego, 
died and was buried with yesterday. I feel that plainly, 
I see, I know it. • . And I do not complain, in the 
least, of that. It is not for the purpose of complaining 
that I have begim to discuss this with thee. . • Have 
I any cause to complain, when thou lovest me, Irfna? 
I only want to tell thee, that out of all this dead past, 
out of all these beginnings and hopes — which have 
turned to smoke and dust — only one living, invincible 
thing remains: my love for thee. Save for this love, 
ll have nothiiig left; it would not be enough to call 
it my sole treasure; I am all in this love, this love is 
the whole of me; in it is my future, my vocation, my 
holy things, my fatherland! Thou knowest me, Irfna, 
thou knowest that set phrases are foreign and abhor- 
rent to me, and however forcible may be the words where- 
with I strive to express my feeling, thou wilt not doubt 

262 



SMOKE 



their sincerity, thou wilt not consider them exaggerated. 
It Is not a boy, who is stammering out ill-considered 
▼ows before thee, in a burst of momentary enthusiasm, 
it is a man, already tried by the years, who simply and 
straightforwardly, almost with terror, is expressing 
that which he has recognised to be the indubitable truth. 
Yes, thy love has taken the place of everything else with 
me — everything, everything! Judge for thyself: can 
I leave aU this in the hands of another man, can I 
permit him to dispose of thee? Thou, thou wilt belong 
to him, all my being, my heart's blood, will belong to 
him,-- and I myself . . . Where am I? What am I? 
I am to stand on one side, as a looker-on . • . • a 
looker-on at my own life ! No, this is impossible, impos- 
sible ! To share, to share by stealth in that without 
which it is not worth while, without which it is impos- 
sible to breathe . . . that is a lie and death. I know 
how great is the sacrifice I require of thee, without 
having any right so to do; and what can give one 
a right to a sacrifice? But I do not take this step from 
egoism: an egoist would find it easier and more tran- 
quil not to raise this question at all. Yes, my demands 
are heavy, and I shall not be surprised if they frighten 

Ithee. — The people with whom thou must live are hate- 
ful to me, society oppresses thee; but hast thou the 
I strength to abandon that same society, to trample un- 
der foot the crown wherewith it has crowned thee, to 
arouse against thee public opinion, the opinion of those 
hateful people? Ask thyself, Irina; do not take upon 
thyself a burden greater than thou canst bear. . — 
I do not mean to reproach thee, but remember: once 
before thou hast failed to resist the charm. I can give 
thee so little in exchange for what thou wilt lose! 

26a 



SMOKE 

Hearken to my last word: if thou dost not feel thyself 
in a condition to leave everything and follow me to- 
morrow, to-day, — thou seest how boldly I speak, how 
little I spare myself, — if the uncertainty of the fu- 
ture, and estrangement, and isolation, and public cen- 
sure alarm thee, if thou canst not trust thyself, in a 
word— tell me so frankly and without delay, and I will 
go away; I will go away, with a harrowed soul, but I 
will thank thee for thy truthfulness. But if thou, my 
most beautiful, my radiant empress, hast really come 
to love such a petty, obscure man as I, and art really 
ready to share his lot, — well, then give me thy hand, and 
we will set forth together on our different road ! Only, 
thou must know this: my resolution is firm: either all, 
or nothing! This is madness . . . but I cannot do 
otherwise, I cannot, Irina ! I love thee too mightily. 

"Thy G. L." 

This letter did not please Litvinoff himself 
very much. It did not quite faithfully and ac- 
curately express virhat he wished to say; awkward 
expressions, by turns magniloquent and bookish, 
occurred in it, and when it was finished it was no 
better than many of the other letters which he had 
torn up; but it happened to be the last one, and 
after all, the chief thing had been said; and 
weary, exhausted, LitvinoflT did not feel himself 
capable of extracting anything else from his 
head. Moreover, he did not possess the skill to set 
forth his whole thought in literary form, and, like 
all persons who are not accustomed to this, he 

264 



II 



SMOKE 

worried over the style. His first letter had, prob- 
ably, been the best: it had poured forth burning 
hot from his heart. At any rate, Litvinoff des- 
patched his epistle to Irfna. 
She replied with a brief note: 

" Come to me to-day," she wrote to him ; " he has 
gone off for the whole day. Thy letter has agitated 
me extremely. I keep thinking, thinking . . . and 
my head is dizzy with my thoughts. I am greatly dis- 
tressed, but thou lovest me, and I am happy. 

"Thy I.'' 



She was sitting in her boudoir when Litvinoff 
presented himself to her. He was ushered in by 
the same thirteen-year-old girl who had kept 
watch for him on the staircase the day before. 
On the table, in front of Irina, stood an open, 
semicircular pasteboard box filled with laces; she 
was abstractedly turning them over with one 
hand; in the other she held Litvinoff 's letter. 
She had only just stopped crying: her eyelashes 
were wet, and her eyelids were swollen ; the traces 
of tears which had not been wiped away were 
visible on her cheeks. Litvinoff halted on the 
threshold: she had not observed his entrance. 

" Thou art weeping? " he said in amazement. 

She started, passed her hand over her hair, and 
smiled. 

" Why art thou weeping? "—repeated Litvi* 
noff. She silently pointed to the letter. 

265 



SMOKE 

" So thou art crying over that . . /' he said, 
haltingly. 

" Come here, sit down,"— she said,—" give me 
thy hand. Well, yes, I have been crying. • • .Why 
does that surprise thee? Is this easy? " Again 
she pointed at the letter. Litvfnoff sat down. 

" I know that it is not easy, Irina; I say the 
same thing to thee in my letter. • . I understand 
thy position. But if thou believest in the signi- 
ficance of thy love for me, if my words have con- 
vinced thee, thou must also understand what I 
now feel at the sight of thy tears. I have come 
hither like a condemned man, but I am waiting: 
what will be announced to me? Death or life? 
Thy answer will decide everjrthing. Only, do 
not look at me with such eyes. . . • They remind 
me of the eyes of days gone by, the Moscow 
eyes." 

Irina suddenly blushed and turned away, as 
though she herself were conscious of something 
improper in her gaze. 

" Why dost thou say that, Grig6ry? Art not 
thou ashamed of thyself? Thou wishest to know 
my answer .... but canst thou doubt it? Thy 
letter, my friend, has set me to thinking. Thou 
writest here that my love has replaced all else 
for thee, that even thy former occupations must 
now remain without application; but I ask thee: 
Can a man live by love alone? Will it not pall 
on him in the end, will not he long for activity, 

266 



SMOKE 

and will not he upbraid that which has alienated 
him from it? That is the thought which terrifies 
me; that is what I fear, and not that which thou 
hast proposed." 

Litvinoff gazed attentively at Irina, and Irina 
gazed attentively at him as though each of them 
was desirous of penetrating further and more 
profoundly into the soul of the other, further and 
more profoundly than the spoken word can at- 
tain, or reveal. 

" There is no necessity for thy fearing that,"— 
began Litvinoff.—" I must have expressed my- 
I self badly.— " Boredom? Inactivity? With the 
1 new forces which thy love will give me? Oh, 
Irina, believe me, thy love is all the world to 
me, and I myself cannot now foresee all that may 
develop from it!" 

Irina became thoughtful. 

" But where are we to go? "—she whispered. 

" Where? We will talk about that hereafter. 
But, of course ... of course, thou consentest 
. . . thou consentest, Irina? " 

She looked at him.— "And thou wilt be 
happy?" 

"Oh, Irina!" 

" Thou wilt regret nothing? Never? " 

She bent over the box of laces, and again began 
to sort them over. 

" Be not angry with me, my dearest, if I busy 
myself with this nonsense at such a moment. . . 

267 



n 



SMOKE ^ 

I am obliged to go to a ball, given by a certain 
lady. These rags have been sent to me, and I 
must make my selection to-day. Akh ! I am ter- 
ribly distressed! "—she suddenly exclaimed, and 
laid her face against the edge of the box. . . 
Again tears dropped from her eyes. . . She 
turned away : the tears might fall on the lace. 

" Irina, thou art weeping again,"— began Lit- 
vinoff , anxiously. 

" Well, yes, I am,"— assented Irina.—" Akh, 
Grig6ry, do not torture me, do not torture thy- 
self! . . . Let us be free people ! What is the harm 
if I do cry? Yes, and do I understand myself 
why these tears flow? Thou knowest, thou hast 
heard my decision, thou art convinced that it is 
unalterable, that I consent to . . . how was it thou 
didst word it? . . to everjrthing or nothing . . . 
what more? Let us be free! Why these mutual 
chains? Thou and I are alone now. Thou lovest 
me, I love thee ; have we nothing better to do than 
to extort our opinions from each other? Look at 
me; I have not tried to present myself in a fine 
light before thee, not by so much as a single word 
have I hinted at the fact, that it may not be so 
easy for me to trample under foot my conjugal 
duties. . . But I do not deceive myself, I know 
that I am a criminal, and that he has a right to 
kill me. Well, and what of that! Let us be 
free, I say. The day is ours— eternity is ours." 

She rose from her chair, and looked down upon 
268 



SMOKE 

Litvfnoff, smiling faintly, and narrowing her 
eyelids, and with her arm, bare to the elbow, 
sweeping back a long lock of hair, upon which 
sparkled two or three tears. A rich lace shoulder- 
cape slipped from the table and fell on the floor, 
at Irina's feet. She trod upon it with scorn.— 
" Do not I please thee to-day? Have I grown 
ugly since yesterday? Tell me, hast thou often 
beheld a more beautiful arm? And my hair? 
Tell me, dost thou love me? " 

She seized him with both arms, pressed his 
head to her breast; her comb rattled and fell, and 
her loosened hair flowed over him in a soft, per- 
fumed flood. 



269 



XXIV 

LiTYiNOFF paced to and fro in his room at the 
hotel, with thoughtfully drooping head. It now 
behoved him to pass from theory to practice, to 
seek the means and the road for a flight, for an 
emigration to unknown lands. • . But, strange to 
say, he was not meditating about these means and 
roads so much as on the point,— had the resolu- 
tion on which he had so obstinately insisted been 
I actually, indubitably taken? Had the final, ir- 
' revocable word been uttered? But, surely, 
Irina had said to him at parting: "' Act, act, and 
when everything is ready, thou hast only to 
inform me." It was settled! Away with all 
doubts. . . He must proceed. And Litvinoff had 
proceeded— so far— to meditation. First of aU, 
there was the question of money. Litvfnoff had 
on hand one thousand three hundred and thirty- 
eight gulden— in French money two thousand 
eight hundred and fifty-eight francs; it was an 
insignificant sum, but sufiicient for their first 
necessities, and so he must write at once to his 
father to send him as much as possible: he might 
sell a forest, a bit of land. . . But under what pre- 
text? . . . Well, a pretext would be found. Irfna 

270 ^ 



SMOKE 

had spoken, it is true, of her bijotuVj but it was not 
proper to take that into consideration; who knows 
but they might serve for a rainy day. In addi- 
tion» among his assets was a fine Geneva half- 
chronometer watch, for which he might get • . say, 
four hundred francs. Litvinoff betook himself 
to his bankers, and turned the conversation, in a 
roundabout way, on the subject whether it would 
be possible, in case of need, to borrow money. 
But the bankers in Baden are an experienced 
and cautious folk, and in reply to such rounda- 
bout hints immediately assume a decrepit, lan- 
guid mien, precisely like that of a field-flower 
whose stem has been severed by the scythe; sev* 
eral of them, however, laugh cheerfully and 
boldly in your face, as though they appreciate 
your innocent jest. Litvfnoff , to his own mortifi- 
cation, even tried his luck at roulette, even— oh, 
the ignominy!— placed a thaler on thirty num- 
bers, corresponding to the ntunber of his years. 
He did this with a view to augmenting and 
rounding out his capital; and, in fact, if he did 
not augment, he did round out his capital, by 
losing the extra twenty-eight gulden. The 
second question was, also, of no little importance: 
A passport. But a passport is not so obligatory 
for a woman, and there are countries where it is 
not required at all. Belgium, for example, or 
England; and, in conclusion, a passport which 
was not Russian might be obtained. Litvinoflf 

«7l 



SMOKE 

reflected very seriously on all these things. His 
resolution was strong, without the slightest trace 
of wavering; but in the meantime, contrary to his 
will, against his will, something the reverse of 
serious, something almost comic, passed through, 
leaked through his meditations, as though his 
enterprise itself were a matter of jest, and no one 
had ever eloped with any one in reality, but only 
in comedies and romances, and, possibly, some- 
where in the provincial tracts, in some Tchukhl6m 
or Syzran district, where, according to the state- 
ment of one traveller, people even vomit with 
tedium at times. At this point it recurred to 
Litvinoff 's memory how one of his friends, cor- 
net Batzoff , on the retired list, had carried off 
a merchant's daughter in a post-sledge with 
sleigh-bells, having preliminarily got her parents, 
and even the bride herself, intoxicated, and how 
it had afterward turned out that he had been 
cheated, and almost killed outright, to boot. 
Litvinoff waxed extremely wroth with himself 
for such inappropriate recollections, and then, 
recalling Tatyana, her sudden departure, all that 
woe and suffering and shame, he became but 
too profoundly conscious that the deed which he 
was contemplatihg was of an3rthing but a face- 
tious nature, and that he had been in the right 
when he had said to Irina that no other issue was 
left, for his own honour's sake. . . And again, at 
this mere name, something burning momentarily 

272 



SMOKE 

enveloped him with a sweet anguish, then died 
away around his heart. 

The trampling of a horse's hoofs resounded be- 
hind him. . . He stepped aside . . Irina had over- 
taken him on horseback; by her side rode the fat 
general. She recognised Litvinoff, nodded her 
head to him, and giving her horse a blow on the 
withers with her whip, started it into a gallop, 
then suddenly urged it onward at full speed. Her 
dark veil floated in the wind. . • \ 

" Pas « xnte! Nom de Dieuf pas si vitef **— 
shouted the general, and galloped after her. 



278 



XXV 

On the following morning, Litvinoflf had just 
returned home from his bankers, with whom he 
had had another conference about the playful 
unsteadiness of oiu* rate of exchange, and the best 
method of sending money abroad, when the door- 
porter handed him a letter. He recognised 
Irina's handwriting, and without breaking the 
seal— an evil premonition awoke in him, (Jod only 
knows why— he went off to his own room. This 
is what he read (the letter was written in French) : 

^^ My Dearest ! I have been thinking all night about 
I thy proposition. . . I will not deceive thee. Thou hast 
I been frank with me, and I will be frank : I cannot elope 
i with thee, I have not the strength to do it. I feel how 
culpable I am toward thee; my second fault is greater 
than the first — I despise myself, my cowardice; I over- 
whelm myself with reproaches, but I cannot change 
myself. In vain do I demonstrate to myself that I 
have ruined thy happiness, that thou now hast a right 
to regard me merely as a frivolous coquette, that I 
offered myself, that I myself gave thee a solemn prom- 
ise. . . I am horrified ; I feel hatred toward myself, but 
I cannot act otherwise — I cannot, I cannot. I do not 
seek to justify myself; I will not tell thee that I mjrself 

27» 



SMOKE 

was carried away • • • • all that signifies nothing; but 
I do wish to tell thee, and to repeat it, and repeat it 
yet again : I am thine, thine forever, do with me as 
thou wilt, when thou wilt: without resistance or calcu- 
lation, I am thine. . . But flee, abandon everything. 
• . no ! no ! no ! I entreated thee to save me. I myself 
hoped to obliterate everything, to consume everything, 
as in the fire . . . but evidently, there is no salvation 
for me; evidently, the poison has penetrated too deeply 
within me; evidently, it is not possible to breathe this 
atmosphere for a space of many years with impunity! 
I have wavered long whether I ought to write thee this 
letter; it is terrible to me to reflect what decision thou 
wilt arrive at; I trust only in thy love for me. But I 
have considered that it would be dishonest on my part 
not to tell thee the truth — the more so as thou hast, per- 
haps, already begun to take the first measures for the 
accomplishment of our intention. Akh! it was very 
beautiful, but impossible of fulfilment ! Oh, my friend, 
regard me as a weak, frivolous woman; despise me, but 
do not desert me, do not desert thy Irfna! ... I have 
not the strength to abandon this society, but neither 
can I live in it without thee. We shall soon return 
to Petersburg; do thou come thither; dwell there; we 
will find occupation for thee; thy past labours shall 
not be wasted; thou shalt find a profitable application 
for them . . . only live near me, only love me as I 
am, with all my weaknesses and vices, and understand 
fully that no one's heart will ever be so tenderly devoted 
to thee as the heart of thy Irfna. Come quickly to 
me; I shall not have a minute's peace until I see thee* 

" Thine, thine, thine, I." 

275 



SMOKE 

The blood beat like a hammer in Litvfnoff 's 
head, and then slowly and heavily retreated to 
his heart, and became as cold within him as a 
stone. He read over Irina*s letter, and, as on 
that other occasion in Moscow, fell fainting on 
{ the divan, and remained there motionless. A 
I dark abyss had suddenly surrounded him on all 
! sides, and he stared despairingly, bereft of 
i reason, into the gloom. Thus, once more 
betrayal, or no, worse than betrayal— a lie and 
trivialities. . . And life was shattered; everything 
had been torn up by the roots, utterly, and the 
only thing to which he might have clung— that 
last support— was shattered into fragments also! 
" Follow us to Petersburg,'*— he repeated with 
a bitter, inward laugh : " we will find occupation 
for thee there " . . . " Will they promote me to 
be head clerk of a department, I wonder? And 
who is we? That is where her past spoke outl 
There lies the secret, repulsive thing, which I do 
not know, but which she would like to obliterate, 
and bum as in the fire! That is that world of 
intrigues, of secret relations, of scandals of By61- 
skys and Dolskys. . . And what a future! 
what a splendid role awaits me! To live near 
her, to visit her, to share with her the vicious mel- 
ancholy of a fashionable lady whom society op- 
presses and bores, though she cannot exist outside 
its circle, to be her domestic friend, and, of course, 
the friend of His Excellency also . . . until • . . 

276 



SMOKE 

until her whim is past» and the plebeian friend 
loses his piquancy, and that same fat general or 
Mr. Finikoff replaces him,— that is both possible 
and agreeable, and, if you like, profitable • . • 
she speaks of a profitable application of my 
talents?— but that design is impossible of realisa- 
tion, impossible of realisation! . • ." In Litvi- 
noff 's soul there arose something in the nature 
of the momentary gusts of wind which precede a 
ithunderstorm— sudden, wild outbursts. • . Every 
expression in Irina's letter aroused his indigna- 
tion; the very assurances as to the immutability 
of her feelings affronted him. " Things can- 
not remain like this,"— he exclaimed at last,—" I 
will not permit her to play so pitilessly with my 
life. • r 

Litvinoff sprang up, seized his hat. But what 
was there to be done? Fly to her? Reply to 
her letter? He halted, and his arms sank by his 
sides. 

Yes: what was there to be done? 

Had he not himself proposed to her that fatal 
choice? It had not turned out as he had wished. • • 
every choice is subject to that misfortune. She 
had changed her decision, it is true; she herself 
had been the first to declare that she would 
abandon everjrthing and follow him— that was 
true also. But neither did she deny her guilt, she 
called herself, in plain terms, a weak woman; she 
had not meant to deceive him, she had been de- 

,277 



SMOKE 

ceived in herself What retort was fliere 

to make? At all events, she was not dissimulat- 
ing, not dealing doubly with him • • • she was 
frank with him, pitilessly frank. Nothing had 
forced her to state her intentions on the spot, 
nothing had prevented her soothing him with 
promises, putting off everything, leaving every- 
thing in uncertainty, until their very departure 
• . • her departure with her husband for Italy! 
But she had ruined his life, she had ruined two 
lives! . . . Was not that enough? 

But toward Tatydna she was not to blame; 
he was to blame, he alone, Litvinoff, and he 
had no right to shake off from himself the 
responsibility for that which his fault had 
imposed, like an iron yoke, upon him. • . . 
All that was so; but what remained to be done 
now? 

Again he flung himself on the divan, and 
again, darkly, leaving no trace, with devouring 
swiftness . . . the moments flitted past. • . 

" And why not obey her? "—flashed through 
his mind. '' She loves me, she is mine— and in 
our very attraction for each other, in that pas- 
sion which, after the lapse of so many years, has 
broken out and made its way forth to the sur- 
face with such violence, is there not something 
inevitable, irresistible as the law of nature? Live 
in Petersburg . . . but shall I be the first man 
who finds himself in such a position? Yes, and 



SMOKE 

I where could she and I have found a refuge? • • •'* 
And he fell into thought, and the image of 
Irfna, in that aspect in whidi it had forever im- 
printed itself on his most recent recollections» 
softly presented itself before him. . . • 

But not for long. . . He recovered himself » and 
with a fresh outburst of indignaticm, he thrust 
away from him both those recollections, and that 
enchanting image. 

*' Thou art giving me to drink of that golden 
cup,**— he exclaimed,— " but there is poison in 
thy beverage, and thy white wings are soiled 
with fillh. . . Awayl To remain here with thee, 
after having • . . driven away, driven away my 
betrothed bride . . • would be a dishonourable, a 
dishonourable actl" He clenched his fists bit- 
terly, and another face, with the imprint of 
suflTering and set features, with speechless re- 
proach in the farewell glance, surged up from 
the depths. . . 

And for a long time LitvinoflT tormented 

himself in this manner; for a long time, like a 

critically sick man, his tortured thoughts tossed 

I from side to side. . . At last he calmed down; at 

\ last he readied a decision. From the very first 

;| moment he had foreseen what that decision 

i would be ... it presented itself to him, at first, 

as a remote, barely-perceptible spot in the midst 

of the whirlwind and the gloom of his internal 

confiict; then it began to come nearer and nearer^j 

279 



SMOKE 

and ended by cutting into his heart' with a cold, 
sharp blade. 

Again Litvinoff dragged his trunk forth from 
the comer; again, without haste, and even with 
a certain dull carefulness, he packed all his 
things, rang for a servant, paid his bill, and 
despatched a note in Russian, to Irina, which 
ran as follows: 

** I do not know whether you are more to blame with 
respect to me now than you were in days gone by ; but I 
do know that the present blow is much the stronger. . • 
This is the end. You say to me : 'I cannot ^ ; and I 
repeat the same to you : I cannot ... do what you wish. 
I cannot, and I will not. Do not answer me. You 
are not in a position to give me the only answer which I 
would accept. I am going away to-morrow, early, by the 
first train. Farewell ; may you be happy. . . Probably 
we shall not meet again. *^ 

Litvinoff did not leave his room until night- 
fall; God knows whether he was expecting any- 
thing! About seven o'clock in the evening, a 
lady in a black mantle, with a veil over her face, 
walked twice past the entrance of his hotel. 
After stepping a little to one side, and casting 
a glance at some point in the distance, she sud- 
denly made a decisive movement, and for the 
third time directed her steps toward the en- 
trance. • • 

980 



SMOKE 

"Whither are you going, Irina Pdvlovna?*' 
—rang out a constrained voice behind her. 

She turned round with convulsive swiftness. . 
Potugin rushed up to her. 

She halted, reflected, and fairly flung herself 
at him, thrust her arm in his, and drew him 
aside. 

" Take me away, take me away,"— she kept 
repeating, panting. 

"What is the matter with you, Irina Pdv- 
lovna? "—he murmured, in amazement. 

" Take me away,"— she repeated with re- 
I doubled force,—" if you do not wish to have me 
remain forever .... there! " 

Potugin bowed his head submissively, and 
both walked rapidly away. 

Early on the following morning Litvinoff 
was entirely ready for his journey, when there 
came into his room . . • that same Potugin. 

He silently approached him, and silently 
shook his hand. Litvinoff, also, said nothing. 
Both wore long faces, and both endeavoured in 
vain to smile. 

" I have come to wish you a prosperous jour- 
ney,"— Potugin said, at last. 

"And how did you know that I was going 
away to-day? "—inquired Litvinoff. 

Potugin gazed around him, on the floor. • • 
" It became known to me ... as you see. Our 
last conversation finaUy took such a strange turn. 

^81 



SMOKE 

. . I did not wish to part from you without ex- 
pressing to you my sincere sympathy." 

"Do you sympathise wiih me now, when I 
am going away?" 

Potugin gazed mournfully at Liitvfnoff.— 
"Ekh, Grig6ry Mikhafliteh, Grig6ry Mikhai- 
litch,"— he began, with a short sigh,— "we are 
in no frame of mind for that now, we are in no 
mood for subtleties and disputes. Here yoa are, 
so far as I am able to judge, decidedly indifferent 
to our national literature, and therefore, perhaps, 
you have no conception of Vdska Busldeff ? " 

" Of whom? " 

"Of Vdska Busldeff, the dashing hero of 
N6vgorod ... in the Collection of Kirshd 
Danileff." 

" What Busldeff ? "-ejaculated Litvfnoff, 
somewhat dazed by the sudden turn which the 
conversation had taken.—" I don't know." 

" Well, no matter. See here, this is what I 
wished to call to your attention. Viska, Bus- 
Ideff, after he has dragged his N6vgorodians 
off to Jerusalem on a pilgrimage, and there, to 
their horror, has bathed naked in the holy river 
Jordan, for he believed * neither in bell-dang, 
nor in dream, nor in the croaking of birds,*— 
that logical Vdska Buslieff ascends Mount 
Tabor, and on the crest of that mountain, lies 
a huge stone, across which all sorts of 2>eople 
have tried, in vain, to leap. • • • Viska wishes to 

282 



SMOKE 

try his luck* also. And on his way up the 
mountain he encounters a skull, human bones; 
he kicks it. WeU, and the head says to him: 
'Why dost thou kick? I have known how to 
live; I know also how to wallow in the dust— 
and the same thing shall happen unto thee/^ 
And in fact Vdska leaps across the stone, and 
would have got clear over had not he caught his 
heel, and cracked his skull. And here I must 
remark, by the way, that it would not be a bad 
thing if my friends, the Slavyanophils, who are 
great hands at kicking all sorts of death's-heads 
and rotten folks, would ponder over this epic 
song. 

" But what is your object in saying all this? '* 
—interrupted Litvinoff impatiently at last.— 
'' I must go, excuse me. . . ." 

" My object is,"— replied Potiigin, and his 
eyes beamed with a friendly feeling which Litvi- 
noff had never expected from him,—" to keep 
you from repulsing the dead human skull; and 
perchance, in return for your goodness, you will 
succeed in leaping across the fatal stone. I will 
not detain you any longer, only you must permit 
me to embrace you in fareweU." 

'' I shall not even attempt to leap across,"— 
said Litvinoff, as he exchanged the threefold kiss 
with Potiigin. And to the sorrowful emotion, 

^ The venfoD which I have given. *' Vasfly Buslievitch,** in " The 
Epic Song^ of Russia ** (Charles Scribner*s Sons), is from a slightly 
jdiferent original to the one here quoted. — Teaitslaiihu 

288 



SMOKE 

whicH filled his soul to overflowing, there was 
added, for an instant, compassion for another 
poor wretch. But he must go, he must go. . . 
He flung himself about the room. 

" I will carry something for you, if you like." 
— Potugin ofi^ered his services. 

" No, thanks, don't trouble yourself; I will 
manage alone. . . ." He put on his hat, took his 
bag in his hand.—" So you say,"— he inquired, 
as he was standing on the threshold,—" that you 
have seen her? " 

" Yes, I have seen her." 

" Well . . and what of her? " 

Potugin made no answer for a while.—" She 
expected you last night. . . and will expect you 
to-day." 

"Ah! Well, then tell her. . . No, it is not 
necessary, nothing is necessary. Farewell, . . . 
Farewell!" 

" Farewell, Grigory Mikhaflitch. . . . Let me 
say one word more to you. You will have time 
to hear me out: the train does not leave for half 
j an hour yet. You are returning to Russia. . . 
' You will ... in course of time . . . become active 
there. . . Permit an old failure*— for I, alas I am a 
I failure, and nothing else— to giv6 you a parting 
j bit of advice. On every occasion, when you are 
obliged to enter upon an undertaking, ask your- 
self: are you serving civilisation,— in the exact 
and strict sense of the word,— are you furthering 

^4 



SMOKE 



one of its ideas; is your labour of that pedagogy 
ical, European character, which alone is profita-* 
ble and fruitful in our day, in our country? If 
so— advance boldly: you are on the right road; 

. and your affair is an honourable one! Glory to 
Grod! You are not alone now. You will not be 
* a sower of the desert * : hard workers .... 
pioneers • . . have already sprung up among us. 
. . But you do not care to hear about that now.— 
Good-bye, do not forget me!" 

Litvinoff descended the stairs at a run, flung 
himself into a carriage, and drove to the railway 
station, without casting a single glance at the 
town where so much of his own life was being 
left behind. . . He seemed to be yielding to a bil- 
low: it seized him, swept him onward, and he 
firmly resolved not to resist its impulse ... he re- 
nounced every other manifestation of will. 

I He was already entering the railway carriage* 

" Grigory Mikhaflovitch . . . Grig6ry ..." he 

heard a beseeching whisper behind him. He 

I shuddered. . . Could it be Irina? Exactly that: 

lit was she. Wrapped in her maid's shawl, with a 
travelling hat on her unkempt locks, she was 
standing on the platform and gazing at him with 
dimmed eyes. " Turn back, turn back, I have 
come for thee!" said those eyes. And what, 
what all, did not they promise! She did not 
move; she had not the strength to add a single 
word; everything about her, even the disorder of 

S8d 



SMOKE 

her gannents, everjrthing seemed to be entreating 
mercy. . . . 

Litvinoff could hardly stand on his feet, oould 
hardly refrain from rushing to her. . • • But the 
wave to which he had }rielded himself asserted its 
power. . . He sprang into the carriage, and, 
turning round, he motioned Irfna to a place 
beside him. She understood him. The time was 
not past. Only one step, one movement, and two 
lives forever united would have sped forth into 
the unknown distance. . . While she hesitated a 
loud whistle rang out, and the train started. 

Litvinoff flung himself back, and Irina 
walked tottering to a bench and sank down upon 
it, to the extreme amazement of an ex-diplomat 
who had accidentally wandered into the station. 
He was only slightly acquainted with Irfna, but 
took a great interest in her, and perceiving that 
she was lying as though unconscious, he thought 
that she had had '^ une attaque de nerfs/' and 
consequently regarded it as his duty, the duty 
d'un galant chevalier j to go to her assistance. But 
his amazement assumed far greater proportions 
when, at the first word he addressed to her, she 
suddenly rose, repulsed the offered arm, and, 
rushing forth into the street, in a few moments 
vanished in the milky cloud of mist, wfaidi is 
so characteristic of the Black Forest climate in 
the early days of autumn. 

8S6 



XXVI 

We once chanced to enter the cottage of a peas-* 
ant woman who had just lost her only, fervently- 
loved son, and to our no small surprise, we 
found her entirely composed, almost cheerful.— 
'VLet her alone I" said her husband, whom this 
surprise did not escape:—'* she is hardened just 

j now."— In the same way Litvfnoff " was har- 
dened." The same sort of composure came upcxi 
him during the first hours of his journey. Ut- 
terly annihilated, and hopelessly unhappy, he 
nevertheless was at rest, at rest after the tur- 
moils and tortures of the preceding week, after 
all the blows which, one after the other, had 
descended upon his head. They had shaken him 
all the more violently because he was not created 
for such tempests. He no longer had any hope 
of anything now, and tried not to remember- 
most of all, not to remember. He was going to 

^ Russia ... he must take refuge somewhere I but 
he no longer made any plans which personally 
concerned himself. He did not recognise him- 
self; he did not understand his proceedings; it 
was exactly as though he had lost his real " I," 
and, altogether, he felt very little interest in 
that '' I." Sometimes it seemed to him as though 

297 



\ 



SMOKE 

he were carrying his own corpse, and only the 
bitter convulsions of an incurable spiritual mal- 
ady, which ran through him now and then, 
reminded him that he was still endowed with life. 
At times it seemed incomprehensible to him how 
a man— a man!— could permit a woman, love, 

.... to exercise such influence over him 

"A shameful weakness!" he whispered, and 
shook out his cloak, and settled himself more 
squarely in his seat, as much as to say. There 
now, old things are done with, let us start on 
something new .... A minute later, and he 
merely smiled bitterly and felt amazed at him- 
self. He took to gazing out of the window. 
The day was grey and damp; there was no rain, 
but the fog held on, and low-lying clouds veiled 
the sky. The wind was blowing in the contrary 
direction to the course of the train; whiti^ 
clouds of steam, now alone, now mingled with 
other, darker clouds of smoke, swept, in an end- 
less series, past the window beside whidi 
Litvfnoff sat. He began to watch the steam, 
the smoke. Incessantly whirling, rising and 
falling, twisting and catching at the grass, at 
the bushes, playing pranks, as it were, lengthen- 
ing and melting, puff followed puff .... they 
were constantly changing, and yet remained the 
same .... a monotonous, hurried, tiresome game! 
Sometimes the wind changed, the road made a 
turn— the whole mass suddenly disappeared, 

288 



SMOKE 

and immediately became visible through the op-, 
posite window; then, once more, the huge trail 
flung itself over, and once more veiled from 
Litvfnoff the wide view of the Rhine Valley. He 
gazed and gazed, and a strange reflection oc- 
curred to him. . . He was alone in the carriage; 
there was no one to interfere with him.— 
" Smoke, smoke,"— he repeated several times in 
succession; and suddenly everything appeared 
to him to be smoke— everything, his own life, 
everjrthing pertaining to men, especiall}L.£yery- 
thing^Ryssian^ Everything is smoke and steam, 
—he thought;— everything seems to be con- 
stantly undergoing change; ever3rwhere there are 
new forms, phenomenon follows phenomenon, 
but in reality everything is exactly alike; every- 
thing is hurrying, hastening somewhither— and 
everything vanishes without leaving a trace, with- 
out having attained to any end whatever; another 
breeze has begun to blow— and everything has 
been flimg to the other side, and there, again, is 
the same incessant, agitated— and useless game. 
He recalled many things which had taken place, 
with much sound and clatter, before his eyes 
during the last few years . . . . " smoke,"— he 
murmured,— " smoke*'; he recalled the heated 
disputes, shovings and shouts at Gubary6flrs, and 
at the houses of other persons, of high and of 
low degree, of prominent people, and of people 
who had lagged behind, of old people and of 

289.^ 



SMOKE 

young . . . "smoke*'— he repeated,— " smoke 
and steam *'; he recalled, in conclusion, the fa- 
mous picnic also; and other judgments and 
speeches of other statesmen also recurred to his 
mind— and even everjrthing which Potugin had 
preached .... "smoke, smoke, and nothing 
more." But his own aspirations and feelings and 
efforts and dreams? He merely waved his hand 
in renunciation of them. 

And in the meantime the train was dashing on, 
dashing on Rastadt, Karlsruhe and Bruchsal had 
long since heen left behind; the mountains on 
the right side of the road were retreating, re- 
ceding into the distance, then advanced again, 
but were not so lofty now, and were more 
sparsely covered with forests. . . The train made 
a sharp turn to one side— and behdid, there was 
Heidelberg. The railway carriages rolled up 
under the shed of the station; the cries of ped- 
lars, selling every sort of thing, even Russian 
newspapers, resounded; the travellers fidgeted 
in their seats, emerged on the platform. But 
Litvfnoff did not leave his corner, and continued 
to sit with bowed head. Suddenly some one 
called him by name; he raised his eyes; Bindd- 
soff's ugly face thrust itself through the win- 
dow, and behind him— or did it only seem so to 
him?— no, it was a fact: they were all faces from 
Baden, familiar faces: there was Madame 
Sukhantchikoff, there was Voroshfloff, and 

290 






SMOKE 

there was Bambdeff, all of them advancing 
toward him— and Binddsoff was roaring: 

" And where is Pishtchdlkin? We have been 
waiting for him; but never mind, crawl out» 
soaker, we 're all going to Gubary6ff*s." 

" Yes, my dear fellow, and besides, Gubary6ff 
is waiting for us," Bambaeff confirmed his state- 
ment, as he stepped forward:—" get out." 

Litvinoff would have flown into a rage had 
it not been for that dead weight which lay upon 
his heart. He glanced at Bindisoff, and turned 
silently away. 

" I tell you, GubaryoflT is here,"— cried 
Madame Sukhdntchikoff, her eyes almost start- 
ing from their sockets. 

Litvinoff did not stir. 

" Yes, listen, Litvinoff," began Bambdeff, at 
last. " Not only is Gubaryoff here, but there is 
a whole phalanx of the most splendid, the clev- 
erest young men, Russians,— and all are devot- 
ing themselves to the natural sciences, all cherish 
the most noble convictions! Do stop, on their 
account, for goodness' sake. Here, for example, 
is a certain . . . ekh! I 've forgotten his name! 
but he 's simply a genius! " 

'' Come, let him alone, let him alone, Rostis- 
Idff Ardalionitch! "—interposed Madame Su- 
khdntchikoff,— " let him alone! you see what sort 
of a man he is; and all his tribe are of the same 
sort. He has an aunt: at first I thought her a sen- 

291 



SMOKE 

sible woman, but day before yesterday I travelled 
hither in her company— she had only just arrived 
in Baden, and lo and behold! back she flies,— well, 
sir, I travelled with her, and I began to question 
her. . . If you will believe me, not one word 
could I get out of the haughty creature. The 
disgusting aristocrat 1" 

Poor Kapitolina Markovna— an aristocrat I 
Did she ever expect such a disgrace? 

But Litvinoff still held his peace, and turned 
away, and pulled his cap down over his eyes. At 
last the train started. 

" Come, say something by way of farewell, 
you man of stone! "—shouted Bambdeff. 

" You can't go off like this! " 

"Trash! simpleton!"— roared out Bindasoff. 
The carriages rolled more and more rapidly, and 
he could revile with impunity.— " Miser! Mol- 
lusc! Drunken bummer! " 

Whether BindasofT invented this last epithet 
on the spur of the moment, or whether it had 
reached him from other hands, at all events it 
evidently afforded great pleasure to the ex- 
tremely noble young men who were studying the 
natural sciences, for a few days later it made its 
appearance in the Russian periodical sheet, which 
was published at that time in Heidelberg, under 
the title: A tout venant je crochet or " If God 
does n't desert you, the pigs won't eat you." * * 

^ *'Hiin whom God helps, nobody can hum.**— TRAViuiTom. 
' At historical £m1. 

892 



SMOKE 

But Litvfnoff kept repeating his former word: 
smoke, smoke, smoke 1 Here now, he thought, 
there are now more than a hundred Russian 
students in Heidelberg; all are studying chemis- 
try, physics, physiology— they will not even 
listen to an3i;hing else . . . but let five or six 
years elapse, and there will not be fifteen men 
in the courses of those same celebrated profes- 
sors . • • the wind will change, the smoke will 
rush to the other side . . . smoke . . . smoke 
• . . smoke! ^ 

Toward nightfall he passed Kassel. To- 
gether with the twilight, an intolerable anguish 
descended like a vulture upon him, and, nestling 
in the comer of the railway carriage, he began 
to weep. For a long time his tears flowed with- 
out relieving his heart, but torturing him in a 
caustic, bitter way; and, at that same time, in one 
of the hostelries of Kassel, on her bed, in a burn- 
ing fever, lay Tatydna; Kapitolina Markovna 
sat beside her. 

" Tanya,"— she said,—" for GU)d's sake, allow 
me to send a telegram to Grig6ry Mikhailovitch ; 
do let me, Tanya 1" 

" No, aunty,"— she answered,—" it is not nec- 
essary ; do not feel alarmed. Give me some water ; 
this will soon pass off." 

And, in fact, a week later her health mended, 
and the two friends resumed their journey. 

^ Lit¥{noff*s presentiment was fulfilled. In 1866, there were thir- 
teen Russian itudents in the summer term, and twelve in the winter 
term, at Heidelberg. 



XXVII 

Without halting either in Petersburg or in 
Moscow, Litvinoff returned to his estate. He was 
frightened when he saw his father, so greatly 
enfeebled and aged had the latter become. The 
old man rejoiced at the si^t of his son, as much 
as a man can rejoice whose life is drawing to a 
close; he immediately transferred to him all his 
affairs, which were in great confusion, and after 
creaking on a few weeks longer, departed from 
the arena of earth. Litvfnoff was left alone in 
his ancient wing of the manor-house, and with a 
heavy heart, without hope, without zeal and 
without money, he began to farm the estate. 
Farming an estate in Russia is a cheerless affair, 
only too well known to many persons ; we will not 
enlarge on the point of how bitter it seemed to 
Litvinoff. As a matter of course, there could be 
no question of reforms and innovations; the ap- 
plication of the knowledge which he had acquired 
abroad was deferred for an indefinite period; 
want compelled him to worry on from day to day, 
to consent to all sorts of compromises,— both ma- 
terial and moral. New ideas won their way 
badly, old ones had lost their force; the ignorant 
clashed with the dishonest; his whole deranged 

294 



SMOKE 

existence was in constant motioi), like a quaking 
bog, and only the great word " liberty " moved, 
like the spirit of God, over the waters. Patience 
was required, first of all, and not passive but 
active, persistent patience, not devoid, at times, 
of tact, not devoid of guile .... which Litvinoff , 
in his actual spiritual state, found doubly diffi- 
cult. He had very little desire left to live. . . 
Whence could he summon a desire to bestir him- 
self and work? 

iBut a year passed, then a second, the third was 
beginning. The grand thought was gradually 
I being realised, was being transformed into flesh 
and blood: a sprout was putting forth from the 
seed that had been sown ; and its enemies, either 
open or secret, could no longer trample it under 
foot. Litvfnoff^ himself, although he had ended 
by giving up the greater part of his land to the 
peasants, on the rotation-of -crops system, that 
is to say, had returned to the wretched, primi- 
tive methods of farming, yet had some suc- 
cess: he re-established the factory, set up a tiny 
farm with five hired labourers,— he had as many 
as forty, at difi^erent times,— paid ofi^ the prin- 
I cipal part of the debts. . . And his spirit grew 
1 firm within him ; again he began to resemble the 
: Litvinoff of former days. The painful, deeply- 
concealed feeling, it is true, never left him, and 
he had grown sedate beyond his years, had 
shut himself up in his narrow circle, had broken 

295 



SMOKE 

off all his previous connections .... but the 
deathlike indifference had vanished, and again he 
moved about among the living, and behaved like 
a living man. The last traces of the witchery 
which had taken possession of him had vanished 
also: everything which had taken place at Baden 
presented itself to him as in a dream. . And 
Irina? She, also, had paled and disappeared, 
and it was only in a confused way that Litvinoff 
was conscious of something terrible beneath the 
mist in which her image had gradually become 
enveloped. News of Tatyana reached him from 
time to time ; he knew that she and her aunt had 
settled on her little estate, about two hundred 
versts from him, were living quietly and receiv- 
ing hardly any guests, -and, for the rest, were 
composed and well.— But one day, one beautiful 
May day, he was sitting in his study, and in- 
differently turning over the leaves of the last 
number of a Petersburg journal: a servant 
entered and announced the arrival of his aged 
uncle. This uncle was the first cousin of Kapi- 
tolina Markovna, and had recently visited her. 
He had purchased an estate in Litvinoff's 
neighbourhood, and was on his way thither. He 
spent a whole day with his nephew, and told him 
a great deal about Tatyana's manner of life. On 
the day after his departure, Litvinoff sent her a 
letter, the first since their parting. He requested 
permission to renew the acquaintance^ by letter 

296 



SMOKE 

at least, and also desired to know whether he 
must forever abandon the thought of seeing her 
some day? Not without agitation did he await 
the reply . . . and a reply arrived at last. Tatyana 
made a friendly response to his question. " If 
you should take a fancy to visit us," she said in 
conclusion, " come, we shall be glad to see you: 
they say that weak people feel more comfortable 
together than apart." Kapitolina Markovna 
sent her compliments. Litvinoff was as happy 
as a child; his heart had not beaten so cheerfully 
for a long time. And he suddenly felt relieved 
and bright. . . Exactly as when the sun rises and 
drives away the shades of night, a light zephyr 
flits with the sun's rays over the face of the 
( reviving earth. All that day Litvinoff did noth- 
• ing but smile, even when he made the rounds of 
.; his farm and issued his orders. He immediately 
began to make preparations for the journey, 
and two weeks later he set off to Tatydna. 



29T 



XXVIII 

He travelled rather slowly along the country 
roads, without any particular adventures: only 
once the tire on one of the hind wheels broke; a 
blacksmith welded and welded it, cursed it and 
himself, and then threw up the job; luckily, it 
turned out that one can travel very well indeed 
in our country even with a broken tire, especially 
on a " soft " road, that is to say, in the mud. On 
the other hand, Litvinoff had two or three de- 
cidedly curious encounters. At one posting- 
station he found a meeting of justices of the 
peace, and among their number, Pishtchdlkin, 
who produced upon him the impression of being 
a Solon or a Solomon: such lofty wisdom did his 
speech breathe forth, with such unbounded re- 
spect did both landed proprietors and peasants 
bear themselves toward him: . . • and in his ap- 
pearance, also, Pishtchdlkin had begun to resem- 
ble a sage of olden days: his hair had receded 
from his temples, and his face, which had grown 
fuller, had become completely petrified into a sort 
of majestic jelly of virtue unhampered by any- 
thing whatsoever. He congratulated Litvinoff on 
his arrival " in my own district— if I may make 
so bold as to use so ambitious an expression," — 

298 



SMOKE 

and thereupon, instantly sank into a paroxysm of 
well-intentioned emotions. But he did succeed 
in imparting one piece of news, namely, con* 
ceming Voroshfloff . That paladin of the gilded 
classes had again entered the military service, 
and had already managed to deliver a lecture to 
the officers of his regiment on " Buddhism," or 

" dynamism," or something of that sort 

Pishtchdlkin could uot remember exactly what 
At the next posting-'Station they did not harness 
Litvinoff's horses for a long time; the affair 
happened at daybreak,— and he was dozing as 
he sat in his calash. A voice which struck him 
as familiar awakened him: he opened his eyes. • • 

Heavens! was it not Mr. Gubary6ff who was 
standing there in a grey round jacket and flap- 
ping sleeping-trousers, and swearing, on the 
porch of the posting-cottage? . . . No, it was not 
Mr. Gubary6ff. . . But what a startling resem- 
blance! .... Only, this gentleman's mouth was 
wider and fuller of teeth, and the gaze of his 
dismal eyes was still fiercer, his nose was bigger, 
and his beard thicker, and his whole aspect was 
heavier and more repulsive. 

" The sca-aoundrels, the sca-aoundrels! "—he 
was repeating, slowly and viciously stretching 
his wolfish mouth very wide:— "the damned 

peasantry. . . . Here you see it this 

lauded liberty .... and you can't get any 
horses . . . the sca-aoundrels 1" 

209 



SMOKE 

" The sca-aoundrels, the sca-aoundrels! **— 
another voice here made itself heard inside the 
house, and on the porch there presented himself, 
—also in a grey round jacket and flapping sleep- 
ing-trousers,— presented himself, this time actu- 
ally and indubitably, the genuine Mr. Guba- 
ryoff himself, Stepan Nikoldevitch Gubary6ff. 
"The danmed peasantry I "—he continued, in 
imitation of his brother (it appeared that the 
first gentleman was his elder brother, the 
" Danteist " * of the old school, who managed his 
estate. ) — " They ought to be flogged, that 's what 
they ought; flogged on their snouts, that's the 
sort of liberty they need— flogged on their teeth. 

. . They talk about . . . forsooth, about the 

mayor of the district! ... I '11 give it to them! 
. . . Yes, and where 's that M'sieu' Roston? . . . 
What does he superintend? ... It's his busi- 
ness, the cursed sluggard . . . not to reduce one 
to anxiety " 

" But I have repeatedly told you, brother,"— 
put in the elder Gubaryoff*,— " that he was 
not fit for anything, a regular sluggard! Only 
you, for old acquaintance' sake. . . . M'sieu' 
Roston, M'sieu' Roston! .... What has be- 
come of you? " 

"Roston! Roston! "—shouted the younger, 
the great Gubaryoff.— " Come, brother Dore- 
medont Nikoliitch, call him well ! " 

"^ A term applied to cruel serf-owBers. — Travslatob. 

800 



SMOKE 

" That 's precisely what I am doing, brothet 
Stepan Nikolaitch.— Monsieur Rostonl" 

"Here I am, here I am, here I ami"— a 
precipitate voice made itself heard, and from 
round the comer of the cottage sprang forth— 
Bambdeff. 

Litvmoif fairly cried aloud in amazement. On 
the ill-starred enthusiast mournfully dangled a 
hussar jacket abbreviated by wear, with rents in 
the sleeves; his features were not so much altered 
as pinched and wizened; his extremely uneasy 
little eyes expressed slavish terror and hungry 
subserviency; but his dyed moustache bristled up 
above his full lips as of old. The Gubaryoff 
brothers set to work instantly and simultaneously 
to berate him from the elevation of the porch; 
he halted in front of them, below, in the mud, 
and, with his back meekly bowed, endeavoured 
to placate them with a timid smile, crumpling 
his cap in his red fingers, shifting from one 
foot to the other, and muttering that the horses 
would make their appearance immediately. . . 
But the brothers did not cease, until the younger, 
at last, let his eyes fall on Litvfnoff. Whether 
he recognised him, whether he felt ashamed in 
the presence of a stranger, at all- events, h^ sud- 
denly turned on his heel, in bear-like fashion, 
and, gnawing his beard, hobbled into the posting- 
cottage; his brother instantly became mute, and 
turning round, in bear-like fashion also, followed 

801 



SMOKE 

in his footsteps. The great 6ubary6ff» evi« 
dently, had not lost his influence in his own coun- 
try either. 

Bambieff was on the point of following 
softly after the brothers. . . Litvinoff called him 
by name. He glanced round, took another look, 
and, recognising Litvinoff, fairly precipitated 
himself at him, with outstretched arms; but when 
he had rushed up to the carriage, and grasped 
the door, he fell against it with his breast and 
burst into a flood of tears. 

" Stop, do stop, Bambdeff,*'— Litvfnoff said 
again and again, bending over him and toudiing 
him on the shoulder. 

But he continued to sob.—" This .... this .... 
this is what I have come to . • .'' he murmured, 
sobbing. 

" Bambdeff 1 "—thundered the brothers inside 
the cottage. 

Bambdeff raised his head and hastily wiped 
away his tears. 

" GSood morning, my dear fellow,"— he whis- 
I)ered,— " good morning and good-bye I .... 
you hear, they are calling me." 

" But how in the world do you come to be 
here?"- inquired Litvfnoff :— " and what is the 
meaning of all this? I thought they called you 
a Frenchman. . ." 

" I am their . . . their house-steward, their 
butler,"— replied Bambaeff, and jerked his 

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finger in the direction of the cottage.—'" And I 
came to be a Frenchman by chance, by way of a 
jest. What can a man do, brother? When there 
is nothing to eat, you see, and you have spent 
your last penny, you put your neck into the 
noose, willy-nilly. You don't feel like being am- 
bitious." 

"' But has he been long in Russia? And how 
did he part from his former comrades? " 

'' Ekh, brother 1 All that is over now. . . The 
weather has changed, you know. . . . He jsimply 
pitched Madame Sukhdntchikoff, Matry6na 
Kuzmfnitdma, out, neck and crop. She went off 
to Portugal, out of grief." 

"Went to Portugal? What nonsense is 
this?" 

" Yes, brother, to Portugal, with two Matry6- 
novtzys." 

"With whom?" 

"With the Matryonovtzys: that's what the 
adherents of her faction are called." 

" Has Matry6na Kuzminitdma a faction, and 
is it numerous? " 

" Why, it consists of just those two men. But 
he returned here nearly six months ago. Then 
others got into trouble, but he 's all right. He 
lives in the country with his brother, and you 
just ought to hear now . . . ." 

"BambAeffI" 

" Immediately, Stepto Nikoliitch, immedi- 

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ately. But thou, my dear fellow, art blooming, 
thou art enjoying thyself! Well, (Jod be 
thanked! Where art thou bound for now?— 
Why, I never thought, I never foresaw that. . . . 
Dost thou remember Baden? Ekh, that was 
living! By the way, dost thou remember Binda- 
soff also? Just imagine, he is dead. He ob- 
tained a position in the excise office, and got into 
a fight in a dram-shop; and they smashed his 
skull with a billiard-cue. Yes, yes, hard times 
have come upon us! But I still say: Russia, 
what a land this Russia is! Look even at that 
pair of geese: surely, in all Europe, there is 
nothing like them! Real Arzamds fowls! " 

And after paying this parting tribute to his 
ineradicable necessity to go into raptures, Bam- 
baeff ran into the station-cottage, where his name 
was again being uttered, not without a few em- 
phatic epithets. 

Toward the end of that day, Litvinoff drove 
up to Tatyana's village. The little house, where- 
in dwelt his former betrothed, stood on a hill, 
above a small river, in the centre of a garden 
which had been newly laid out. The little house 
was new also, only just built, and was visible 
from afar, across river and meadow. It revealed 
itself to Litvinoff at a distance of two versts 
with its pointed partial upper story and row 
of windows, which gleamed brightly in the rays 
of the evening sun. From the time he quitted the 

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last station, he had begun to experience a secret 
agitation ; but at this point downright consterna- 
tion seized upon him, joyous consternation, not 
unmingled with a certain alarm. " How will they 
receive me?"— he thought,— " how shall I pre- 
sent myself? " • • • In order to divert his thoughts 
somewhat he began to chat with the postilion, a 
peasant of the steppes, with a grey beard, but 
who had charged him for thirty versts, when, in 
reality, the distance was not twenty-five. He 
asked him: Did he know the Shestoff ladies? 

" The Shest6ffs, do you mean? Of course I 
know them! Kind ladies they are, there's no 
denying thatl And they heal us poor folks too. 
I 'm telling you the truth. Regular women doc- 
tors I Folks go to them from the whole county. 
That 's so. They just crawl there in hordes. No 
sooner does any one fall ill, or cut himself, or 
anything else, than he inunediately hastens to 
them, and they inunediately apply a fomenta- 
tion, or powders, or a plaster,— and that 's the end 
of it: it helps. But don't dare to oflTer gifts of 
gratitude; we don't consent to that, say they; we 
don't do it for money. They 've set up a school, 
too. . . . Well, but that does n't amount to any- 
thing." 

While the postilion was talking, Litvfnoff 
never took his eyes from the little house. . . Now 
a woman in white came out on the balcony, stood, 
and stood, and then vanished. • • • ^^ Can it be 

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she? " His heart fairly leapt within him. ^' Fas- 
ter! Faster!" he shouted to the postilion: the 
latter whipped up his horses. A few moments 
more • • • and the calash rolled in through the 
open gates. . . And on the porch Kapitolina 
Mdrkovna was already standing, and, quite he- 
side herself, was clapping her hands and scream- 
ing: '' I recognised him, I was the first to recog- 
nise him! 'T is he! 't is he!— I recognised 
him!" 

Litvinoff sprang out of the calash, without 
giving the groom who came running up a chance 
to open the door, and hastily embracing Kapito- 
lina Mdrkovna, rushed into the house, through 
the ante-room, into the salon. . . . Before him, 
all covered with confusion, stood Tatydna. She 
glanced at him with her kind, affectionate eyes 
(she had grown a little thinner, but it became 
her) , and offered him her hand. But he did not 
; take the hand, he fell on his knees before her. 
She had not in the least expected this, and did 
not know what to say, what to do.— The tears 
i rushed to her eyes. She was startled, but her 
5 whole coimtenance beamed with joy. ..." Gri- 
g6ry Mikhailitch, what is this, Grig6ry Mikhai- 
litch?" she said . . . but he continued to kiss 
the hem of her garment . . . and with emotion he 
recalled how he had lain on his knees before her, 

in the same manner, at Baden But then 

—and now! 

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^v^ '' ^^^^^H 




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** Tinya,"— he repeated, over and over again, 
— "Tdnyal hast thou forgiven me, TAnya?" 

"Aunty, aunty, what is this? *'— Tatydna 
appealed to Eapit61ina Mdrkovna, who entered 
at the moment 

"Do not hinder him, do not hinder him, 
TAnya,"— replied the kind old woman.—" Thou 
seest he has confessed his wrong." 



But it is time to make an ending; and besides, 
there is nothing more to add; the reader will 
divine the outcome for himself. . . . But what 
of Irina? 

She is just as chanmng as ever, in spite of 
her thirty years. Innumerable young men fall in 
love with her, and even more would fall in love 
with her, if .... if ... • Reader, will not you 
consent to be transported with us, for a few mo- 
ments, to Petersburg, to one of the most promi- 
nent buildings there? Behold: before you lies 
a spacious room, furnished, we will not say 
" richly,"— that is too vulgar an expression,— but 
imposingly, in a stately, impressive style. Do 
you feel a certain tremor of servility? You must 
know: you have entered a temple, a temple con- 
secrated to the loftiest decorum, to virtue over- 
flowing with love— in a word, to unearthly virtue. 
A certain mysterious, actually mysterious silence 
receives you into its embrace. The velvet por- 
tieres, the velvet curtains at the windows, the soft, 

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thick carpet on the floor, all seem destined and 
designed to soothe and soften all harsh sounds 
and violent emotions. Carefully-shaded lamps 
inspire dignified feelings; a decorous perfume 
is disseminated in the close atmosphere; the very 
samovar on the table is hissing in a repressed and 
modest way. The mistress of the house, an im- 
portant personage in Petersburg society, is talk- 
ing in a barely audible tone; she always speaks 
in that way, as though there were a very critically 
ill, almost dying person in the room. The other 
ladies, in imitation of her, barely whisper; but 
to-day, her sister, who is poimng tea, is moving 
her lips with entire absence of sound, so that the 
young man who is sitting before her, and has 
accidentally got into the temple of decorum, is 
even perplexed to know what she wants of him, 
and she rustles at him, for the sixth time: 
'' Voulez vcms une tasse de thi? '* In the comer, 
young, good-looking men are to be seen; mild 
deference beams in their glances; tranquilly 
mild, although insinuating, is the expression of 
their faces; a multitude of tokens of distinction 
glitter mildly on their breasts. The conversation 
which is in progress is mild also; it touches upon 
spiritual and patriotic subjects. The Mysterums 
Drop by F. M. Glinka, the mission to the East, 
the monasteries and brotherhoods of White Rus- 
sia. From time to time, treading noiselessly 
over the soft carpet, liveried lackeys pass to and 

808